US pledges additional ₱234-M aid for Marawi rehab

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 18)— The United States government has pledged an additional $4.5 million, or roughly ₱234 million, in aid to the displaced residents of war-torn Marawi City, the US embassy confirmed Thursday.

“The U.S. government remains committed to supporting the Philippine government in helping restore normalcy in the lives of the Filipinos affected by the Marawi conflict,” US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said.

The additional funding will come from Washington’s foreign aid arm, the US Agency for International Development (USAID). It is expected to assist approximately 50,000 displaced individuals in Marawi, and 9,000 people in Maguindanao.

The resources will specifically be allocated for emergency shelter assistance, water and sanitation services, and for the enhancement of “safe spaces” to protect women and children from exploitation and violence.

“The new funds will augment ongoing US government support to the Philippine government in providing life-saving aid and improving economic and social conditions for vulnerable populations,” the US government added in its statement.

The amount brings the US’ total contribution for Marawi rehab to $63.6 million, or more than ₱3.4 billion.

More than 1,100 people died in battles that raged for nearly five months after the May 2017 Marawi siege staged by pro-Islamic State group fighters. The dead include 900 extremists, 47 civilians and 165 government. Some 300,000 residents were displaced, while houses and buildings were turned to rubble.

READ: ‘Your money is in the bank’: Duterte assures Marawi foreign aid intact

Australia, on the other hand, has also pledged an additional AUD 3.5 million or roughly ₱140 million for rehabilitation efforts in the city.

“My announcement reflects Australia’s commitment to the recovery and reconstruction of Marawi city. We will continue to support the Philippine Government and the people of Marawi as they work to rebuild their lives and their city,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson said on Tuesday.