By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine Army (PA) announced on Monday its plans to build new military camps in the city of Marawi two years after a destructive siege that was regarded as the longest urban war in the recent history of the Philippines.
Major General Jesus Sarsagat, Army Chief of Staff, said the PA acquired the writ of possessions for the 10.2751 hectares of land at Barangays Caloocan East and Kapantaran in the capital city of Lanao del Sur where the new military camps will be established.
“The legal possession of the land enables the Philippine Army to efficiently accomplish its mission. It is a strategic location to protect the people [of Marawi] against terrorism,” Sarsagat said.
He noted that the acquisition of the writ of possessions was made possible with the help of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).
Sarasagat recognized the OSG, headed by lawyer Penafrancia Carpio-Devesa, and legal counsels Maria Felina Constancia Yu-Basangan, Joseph Ryna Abalos, Glenn Thyron Ancheta, and Mark Anthony Cabasag in a ceremony at the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Monday.
The Islamic city of Marawi is still reeling from the effects of the siege carried out by the Maute terror group and aided by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on May 23, 2017.
The clashes began when the troops attempted to capture ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was also regarded as Islamic State’s (IS) emir in Southeast Asia.
The five-month siege resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 people including terrorists, security troops, and civilians.
The founders of the Maute group — brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute — and Hapilon, were among those killed.
On October 17, 2017, Marawi City was declared liberated from terrorist influence, and six days later, on October 23, an end to the war was announced.