By Carmelito Q. Francisco
DAVAO CITY — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it will provide technical assistance and $5 million worth of funding to support the rehabilitation of Marawi City following last year’s five-month siege.
Kelly Bird, ADB country director for the Philippines, said experts will help evaluate the needs for the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.
The bank “will provide technical staff support to the government to produce the needs assessment… and we’ll be providing staff support to provide inputs to the government’s reconstruction and rehabilitation program,” Mr. Bird said in an interview with BusinessWorld Friday, on the sidelines of the regional press launch here of the Philippines’ hosting in May of the 51st Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors.
He said the technical experts will coordinate with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in the assessment process.
The other component is a $5-million grant for urban planning initiatives and “small scale infrastructure projects.”
Mr. Bird said the ADB assistance is targeted for rollout in the “next few months.”
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia earlier urged the bank, among other international financial institutions, to provide the Philippine government technical and financial assistance for rebuilding Marawi and helping its more than 200,000 displaced residents.
Officials have estimated that at least P50 billion is needed to rehabilitate Marawi, the country’s leading Islamic city and the capital of Lanao del Sur province.
The Marawi siege prompted government to declare martial law on Mindanao, which remains in effect until end-2018.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, this year’s chair of the ADB Board of Governors, said in a statement Friday that Mindanao will be among the primary beneficiaries of an inclusive approach to growth in the Asia-Pacific region, citing the government’s strong partnership with the ADB to bring peace and prosperity to the southern island.