Senators anticipate Marawi rehabiliation as conflict nears end

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 16) — With the deaths of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Maute group leader Omar Maute, and the end of the war in Marawi in sight, many Senators are now looking towards rehabilitation of the war torn city.

As the war in Marawi nears its close, several Senators expressed the need to rebuild the city as soon as possible, although they had differing opinions on the lifting of martial law in Mindanao.

Senator Miguel Zubiri said despite recent developments in Marawi City, he would still push for the continuation of martial law in Mindanao.

"I fully support the continuation of martial law in the Marawi till December 31 in these areas so that human, material and financial resources can be fully utilized and rehabilitation will be achieved at a shorter time, sooner than later. I anticipate discussions in Congress on the lifting of martial law," Zubiri said.

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 to address the crisis in Marawi.

Opposition Senator Bam Aquino on the other hand, called for an end to the battle to lift martial law in the region immediately.

"With this victory, we hope that the firefighting will soon end so the government can immediately lift martial law and finally focus on rebuilding and developing Marawi City," Aquino said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian echoed Aquino's call to rehabilitate the war-torn city. He said the real battle is not yet over as they have to rebuild the damage the war caused.

"This is a challenge we have already begun preparing for, but we now need to double our efforts to immediately jumpstart the local economy and restore the livelihood of Marawi residents once the conflict has come to an end," Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian previously visited soldiers in Marawi, and suggested that a budget for Marawi rehabilitation be endorsed in Congress

Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes commended the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for neutralizing the rebel group's leaders.

"Hopefully, this also signifies the end of the major hostilities of the siege. This decisive victory is a fitting honor to our soldiers, both fallen and living, who bravely fought in this campaign," Trillanes said in a statement.

Earlier, Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana said it may take around P100 billion pesos to rehabilitate and develop Marawi.

Lorenzana had confirmed the death of Hapilon and Omar Maute early Monday, and said that although the war is not yet over, it is slowly drawing to a close.

The war in Marawi City has raged for almost five months, leaving 359,680 displaced. It has also left 824 terrorists, 162 government troopers, and 47 civilians killed.