DAVAO CITY – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano visited Marawi City Thursday to assess what intervention the Tapang at Malasakit Alliance could provide for the city and its residents after it was liberated on Oct. 23 from the pro-ISIS terrorists.

The two mayors handed over P10 million (P5 million from each city) as an aid to Marawi which is already undergoing rehabilitation. They also offered flowers, candles and prayers at St. Mary’s for those who perished at the height of the armed conflict at the main battle area.

Davao Chief Information Officer Jefry Tupas said the two mayors, who wore red shirts to represent Tapang at Malasakit Alliance, visited the Malutlot Elementary School and City Hall. They recently led the launch of Tapang at Malasakit Alliance in Taguig.

Duterte-Carpio earlier said the P5 million aid is sourced from the disaster funds of the city that was also approved by the City Council.

It will only be an initial assistance from the city. Davao City has a total disaster fund of P91 million disposable within the last two months of the year 2017.

“I initially planned to give P10 million, but we still have two months left. My priority is still Davao City. Maybe mid-next year or the same period, we will look on how they used the P5 million and we can give them more,” she said in an earlier interview.

She called on other local governments to also extend help to Marawi City. She said it is within their duty as elected officials to help other cities that need help.

This is not the first time that Davao City extended help to cities affected by a disaster. It also sent aid to Bohol when it was hit by a strong earthquake, Cagayan de Oro during Typhoon Sendong, among others.

Meanwhile, Philippine Army chief Maj. Gen. Rolando Bautista said a government team has been allowed to enter the main conflict area since Monday for the post needs assessment to determine structures will be built or if the damaged buildings will be reconstructed or rehabilitated.

Bautista, however, said ground preparation for the relocation of evacuees is ongoing outside of the main conflict or adjacent areas in Marawi.

By December, he said, some houses could be initially turned over to some families.

According to Bautista, the security forces only allowed the post needs assessment team because the main conflict area is not fully clear.

Meaning, we need to see if there are still unexploded ordnance or improvised explosive devices considering that during the campaign not all were recovered as these were buried in the ruins, Bautista stressed. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)