By Melissa Luz T. Lopez
THE GOVERNMENT has so far raised nearly P42 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi City, the Department of Finance (DoF) said, representing two-thirds of the amount needed to rebuild the war-torn city.
In a statement, the department said it now has P41.81 billion for the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Program, although this was still short of the P67.99-billion budget the government expects to spend for its five-year implementation.
The program involves rebuilding roads and key infrastructure, as well as provision of livelihood and shelters for residents.
The bulk of the funds were committed by development agencies worth a total of P35.17 billion, representing loans and grants.
Some P6.64 billion came from humanitarian aid pledged by multilateral lenders and bilateral partners.
The capital of Lanao del Sur was devastated after a five-month battle between government forces and Islamic State-inspired militants from May to October 2017, displacing thousands of families and leaving the city in ruins.
Global lenders like the World Bank, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development committed to extend funding aid for Marawi during a pledging session held in Davao City in November last year.
Other donors included the governments of China, Japan, the United States, Australia, Germany, Korea, Spain and Italy.
Of the amount, DoF Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Antonio Joselito Lambino II said that P12.4 billion has been released. Broken down, P10.9 billion was disbursed for relief and livelihood assistance projects, as well as for the construction of transitional shelters and evacuation centers, while P1.5 billion was released to the National Housing Authority.
Mr. Lambino said that full recovery of the city will take “two to three years to complete.” Earlier this month, officials from the Philippine and Japanese governments broke ground to rebuild the Marawi Transcentral Road, which will be built using official development assistance.
“A city as damaged as Marawi requires a long-term rehabilitation program. With some development partners, the project preparation alone may last up to three years from the project conception to the start of the construction or implementation,” Mr. Lambino was quoted as saying in the statement.
“We are moving faster than business-as-usual.”
The government previously said that it will sell “patriotic bonds” in order to raise the remainder of the budgetary needs for the Marawi rehabilitation road map.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has pegged the amount at P40 billion, with the first tranche expected to raise at least P13.5 billion from a float of retail Treasury bonds.
Treasury officials, however, said they are still studying the timing for the issuance.
By Melissa Luz T. Lopez