Japan donates $2 million for Marawi rehab

Posted on July 31, 2017

THE Japanese government donated $2 million (about ¥222 million) to the Philippines to augment relief operations in Marawi City, where troops are fighting pro-Islamic State (IS) groups occupying the city.

According to a statement posted on the Web site of the Japanese Embassy in Manila, Tokyo’s humanitarian grant will be channeled through the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“Among $2,000,000, $1,200,000 that are allocated to WFP will be used to provide meals for the affected population and school meals for children in the affected areas. $800,000 that are allocated to UNICEF will be used to provide support in the areas of water, sanitation, and hygiene,” the statement read in part.

“Given the importance and closeness of Japan and the Philippines, Japan will continue to explore ways to best support the Philippine government and the people of the Philippines on this matter,” it added.

Clashes between government forces and the pro-Islamic State Maute militants broke out in Marawi on May 23 -- triggering what may be the biggest internal security crisis in the Philippines since the siege of Zamboanga City by the Moro National Liberation Front in 2013.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte last week said the retaking of Marawi is being “delayed” by his order to the military to refrain from attacking a mosque where the militants are hiding with 300 civilian hostages.

On June 8, Mr. Duterte signed Administrative Order (AO) 3 creating an interagency task force for Marawi’s rehabilitation.

This comes on top of his promise to increase the allotted funds for the revival of the city, now at P20 billion from the initial appropriation of P10 billion.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno earlier said Marawi’s revival may cost more than P20 billion because the city’s restoration could take years. -- Ian Nicolas P. Cigaral