Task force eyes emergency procurement power for Marawi rehab

Posted on July 05, 2017

THE TASK force that will handle the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City is planning to seek authority for emergency procurement procedures to hasten the rebuilding work.

Homes and buildings in parts of Marawi City, as shown in this photo taken on June 26, has been destroyed by the fighting between government forces and IS-inspired local terror groups, which is now on its 7th week. -- AFP
“Well, I hope they will allow us to do that because if we will follow the normal procurement process, it’s very time consuming. It’s lengthy, and once the fighting [ends], I would like to start the rehabilitation immediately,” said Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, head of Task Force Bangon Marawi, which means Rise up Marawi.

Mr. Lorenzana led yesterday’s first meeting of the group, which includes representatives from various government agencies and civil society organizations, to discuss preparations for the early stage of rehabilitation as soon as the battle ends.

“Our bulldozers, we need all the equipment, the materials, the cement, the steel bars, and then we have to hire laborers also, and these are also covered by the emergency procurement,” he said.

Mr. Lorenzana said only about 10% of the city remains to be cleared of the Islamist militants who have been fighting government troops for six weeks.

The government is hopeful that the seige will not last for another week.

“This is just my estimate, I think just one more week. It could be longer. As we can see, the areas they [Maute] hold continues to lessen. It depends on the intensity of the resistance of the enemy. It could be shorter but if they are really strong, and they will fight to the [end], then it will be longer,” Mr. Lorenzana said, adding that the armed forces aim to fully reclaim Marawi City before President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.

“That is what we want to happen. But we are leaving it to the ground commanders to do their pace, not us, we will not. We are not micromanaging the events there. It is up to the ground commanders, they have their own. We [only] give them guidance on what they should do. We would like it very much that the fighting will end by the time the President delivers his SONA,” he said.

Sought for comment on the possible extension of martial law in Mindanao, declared on May 23 when the rampage broke out, Mr. Lorenzana said, “We will know about that in a couple of weeks. We will make our own recommendation. We are still studying the situation on the ground not only in Lanao del Sur, Marawi, but all over Mindanao.”

The martial law declaration is valid for 60 days and will be subject to Congressional approval for extension. -- Jil Danielle M. Caro