Philippines: State University reopens in battle-torn Marawi City

The institution started functioning again after officials confirmed that they have filtered out the militants.

Picture for representation
Debris and fire is seen after an OV-10 Bronco aircraft released a bomb, during an airstrike, as government forces continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over large parts of Marawi City, Philippines June 19, 2017. Reuters

The Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi, one of the largest universities in the Southern Philippines, has finally reopened this week. The institution started functioning again after officials confirmed that it is safe to resume normal school operations as soldiers have filtered out the militants.

Professors and administration staff held a symbolic flag ceremony on the grounds of MSU to manifest that they are officially resuming school operations. The armed conflict in Marawi begun on May 23 when 500 heavily armed terrorists occupied the City and engaged in a severe firefight with Filipino soldiers.

The death toll in the Marawi bloody battle has already killed 317 terrorists, 82 government forces and 39 civilians. Authorities have said that the death toll is likely to increase as Filipino soldiers are nearing rebels' position.

Dr. Habib Macaayon, the University President, said that he has asked all faculty and staff to return to work otherwise they will face suspension. "Since 90% of the Marawi City is already under normal situation then it is time to go back to work, " Macaayon added, as reported.

While the Filipino government declared that opening of classes started on 5 June, MSU is likely to resume classes from August.

Establish in 1961, MSU hosts an average of more than 50,000 enrollees a year. It also has a presence in Iligan, Tawi-Tawi, and Sulu.

Stores adjacent to MSU have also begun opening their shutters in anticipation of students who will go back to school. The government also created the Task Force called Rise Up Marawi, which is headed by Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana, and will oversee the rehabilitation of the only Islamic City in the Philippines.