Rappler file photo
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) plans to send its engineer-soldiers to Marawi when the government begins the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the crisis-hit city.
Two of the 4 Army Engineer Brigades – the 52nd and 54th – will be the core units of the Joint Engineering Task Force for the reconstruction of Marawi.
Other branches of the AFP such as the Naval Engineer Brigade and units from the Air Force's Engineer Wings will also complement their efforts.
"This is a commitment of the Armed Forces, of every soldier, airman, sailor, and marine to carry the burden together with our people in Marawi as we call for unity and cooperation in our shared responsibility in this crisis," said the AFP in a statement on Wednesday, July 5.
Since 2007, AFP engineers have built more than 2,000 community-related projects such as school buildings, farm-to-market roads, and rural electrification projects, as well as day care and health centers.
They have also initiated projects in conflict-stricken areas like the construction of the Basilan Circumferential Road. (READ: Marawi: Images from a ghost town)
It has been more than 6 weeks since the clashes in Marawi City started, with no end in sight yet. Military air strikes targeting terrorists have reduced homes and buildings to rubble.
Eilek Manano of the Children's Rehabilitation Center said it was apparent from children's drawings in psychosocial interventions that they fear the air strikes.
"They are drawing helicopters," said Manano.
"They know that when there are helicopters, there are bombings. They become anxious wondering if their house will be destroyed next," she added in Filipino.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier pledged to allot P20 billion for the rehabilitation of the Islamic city. (READ: What evacuees can expect from gov't when they return to Marawi)