June 6, 2017 | Saturday
The Duterte administration will allot P10 billion for the rebuilding of Marawi City, which has been ravaged by the clashes between government troops and terrorists linked with the Islamic State (IS).
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Department of National Defense (DND) would lead the “Bangon Marawi” recovery effort, which aims to bring back to normal the situation in the strife-torn city as soon as possible.
“The EO (executive order) for ‘Bangon Marawi’ is awaiting (President Rodrigo Duterte’s) signature,” Abella told state-run radio station Radyo Pilipinas Saturday.
“The proposed package amounting to P10 billion as surmised by the President will be a multi-agency effort,” he added.
Abella did not say where the administration would source the funding for the program.
“It (rebuilding) should take a minimum of six months and may begin after clearing the city, which should take about at least one to two weeks,” Abella said.
Security forces have been trying to clear Marawi of Maute group terrorists since May 23, the same day Duterte placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law.
Government troops sought to flush out the Maute group from the city last week but failed to do so because of the presence of several trapped civilians and the continued resistance of the terrorists. The Defense Department has said that the Marawi central business district would have to undergo “more detailed clearing” to ensure the safety of citizens.
On Thursday, the military said the Maute terrorists were just controlling three villages and expressed optimism that the entire city would be retaken by Monday. While officials are upbeat that the Marawi crisis would be over soon, the leaders of the terrorist group Omar and Abdullah Maute and Isnilon Hapilon remain at large.
Among the agencies that will join the rebuilding efforts are the trade, education, social welfare, public works, energy and information and communications technology departments. Military engineering brigades will undertake the rebuilding projects under the supervision of an undersecretary.
“We assure the people that their government will do everything to ensure normalcy and to deliver services to support the people’s aspirations for a comfortable life,” Abella said.
A total of 138 terrorists, 45 government troopers and 21 civilians have died since fighting erupted last month.
Despite the crisis, Abella claimed that the Philippines’ economic prospects remain bright.
“The Marawi conflict has overshadowed the other big story that has an impact on our nation, the continuous growth of our economy, the continued surge of the economy,” the presidential spokesman said.
“The economic pace should pick up even more with the Philippine Development Plan and the public investment plan now promulgated by the new executive order just signed by the President,” he added, referring to Executive Order no. 27 signed last June 1.
Abella said Duterte has tasked Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco to monitor the progress of the infrastructure projects, which is expected to be funded by tax reforms and foreign investments.
“We encourage the Filipinos to rally behind. Let us unite. It should be the time to set aside petty politics and personal agenda,” he added.