U.S. pledges ₱1.35-B aid for Marawi

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 16) — The U.S. government has pledged an additional ₱1.35 billion ($25 million) in aid to displaced residents of war-torn Marawi.

This was announced by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim as he visited the most damaged areas in the city on Tuesday.

He said the new program, called Marawi Response Project, will be a three-year U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program aimed at improving economic and social conditions of communities affected by the war in Marawi.

"Through the Marawi Response Project, the U.S. government, in partnership with the Philippine government, will expand livelihood opportunities and help restart local businesses," Kim said.

"We will help youth obtain the skills they need for employment as well as link them to Mindanao's thriving production and services sector to help them find gainful employment," he added.

The new project brings to ₱3.2 billion ($5.9 million) the total funding pledged by the U.S. government for the rehabilitation of Marawi, according to data from the U.S. embassy.

This comes as the country commemorates on Wednesday the anniversary of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of Marawi City's "liberation" from terrorist forces.

Some 300,000 residents were displaced, while houses and buildings were turned to rubble during the five-month war from May to October last year. More than 900 terrorists, 47 civilians and 165 government troops were killed.

Reconstruction of the ravaged areas in ground zero was supposed to start Wednesday but this was moved to October 28 so Duterte could attend the ceremonies.