esident Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said that the government’s rehabilitation of the war-torn city of Marawi “might take some time” but assured the public it would spend funds wisely.

Duterte said rehabilitation efforts have been hindered by issues such as overlapping land titles.

“Dito sa Marawi may nag-complain. You know, Marawi is not that easy. We started it and we are at it already because ‘yung — the clearing of explosives ang matagal. Then we have to contend with titles. Iyong mga titles ninyo diyan doble-doble,” he told key officials of the Philippines’ Covid-19 response in a televised briefing.

The president also asserted that Marawi was already liberated from terrorists.

“Itong mga tao na nagrereklamo na ang sabi there is no liberation of Marawi yet. Look, government liberated Marawi not from the people of Marawi. We do not do that and we never did it. We liberated Marawi against the terrorist, Maute pati ‘yung ISIS,” he said.

The Marawi war went on for five months before the government declared it liberated from terrorists. Its aftermath included the displacement of more than 350,000 people and deaths of at least 160 policemen an soldiers and 47 civilians.

The government earlier said that the city rehabilitation was scheduled to be completed by December 2021.

In a separate briefing on Monday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the rehabilitation efforts have been satisfactory.

“Well, let’s just say that we are satisfied but the president of course would appreciate if it can be hastened,” he said.

The city commemorated the third year since liberation on Oct. 17. John Ezekiel J. Hirro