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US aid to Marawi reaches P3.2 billion

The United States government is one of the largest foreign aid donors to Marawi City’s recovery efforts, having pledged a total of P3.2 billion as of October 2018 to rebuild the city a year after the bloody siege ended.

A fact sheet released by the US Embassy on Wednesday showed P1.35 billion has been earmarked for its Marawi Response Project, which will offer micro grants to displaced and host communities to help address their short-term needs, support employment readiness among the youth, and help link the youth to Mindanao’s thriving services sector and supply chains.

During and after the conflict between government forces and Islamic State-inspired terror groups in 2017, USAID has provided humanitarian and early recovery assistance to Marawi returnees as well as displaced and host communities.

Among these are the ongoing improvement of water, sanitation and hygiene activities in Lanao del Sur amounting to P338 million; P100 million-worth project to deliver 1.8 million kilograms of rice to families displaced by the conflict; restoration of access to markets and provision of essential maternal, newborn and child health training and supplies for affected populations valued at P431.6 million; and a P480 million allocation to work with vulnerable populations including the youth to enhance their job skills and attain livelihoods.

The US government also employed the “Empowering Madrasa Educator” program, as part of its P70 million rosters of education, economic development, youth empowerment and countering violent extremism outreach programs in response to the Marawi crisis.

Days before the commemoration of the Marawi siege’s conclusion, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim also launched the Empowering Madrasa Educator 2, which allocated P12.7 million to provide intensive long-term training to 175 madrasa educators and 25 madrasa administrators from Marawi, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato City, Maguindanao, Isabela City and Basilan.

Through the program, madrasa educators will improve their English proficiency and computer literacy.

At present, the US continues to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines in quelling militants, including support that increases intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities at the request of the Philippine government.

“US forces have been providing support and assistance in the Philippines for many years, at the request of several different Filipino administrations,” the US Embassy said.

On Oct. 17, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City liberated from “terrorist influence.” The government officially announced the battle’s end on October 23.

The five-month conflict in the city killed a total of 168 government troops and left over 900 militants dead, including terrorist leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon.#