Gov’t sets pledging for Marawi rehab

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THE GOVERNMENT will hold a pledging session in November to seek funds from development institutions for the rehabilitation of battle-scarred Marawi city.

The Department of Finance (DoF) said in a press release on Monday that “the pledging session to be held in the latter part of November would support the implementation of the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program.”

This was after a Philippine delegation led by Cabinet officials met with their counterparts in China last week to discuss such possible financing and invite Beijing to participate in the pledging session.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III was quoted as telling Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan: “Your government’s active support and participation would be highly appreciated,” during their meeting. “We acknowledge… that China was among the first countries to respond to our immediate requirements in our recovery and reconstruction efforts in Marawi City.”

China donated $3 million worth of heavy equipment for Marawi’s rehabilitation in October last year, which “immensely helped in preparing the temporary shelters for the city’s displaced residents,” according to the DoF.

October marked the end of the five-month-long battle in Marawi between Philippine forces and Islamic State-inspired militants.

Latest data from Task Force Bangon Marawi put overall cost of the city’s rehabilitation at about P86.5 billion, including government-led construction outside the most affected area, rebuilding of ground zero under a public-private partnership, as well as livelihood assistance.

So far, P10 billion has been allocated in the 2018 budget for the rehabilitation of the city.

Aside from the pledging session, the government will also raise funds via sale of retail Treasury bonds earmarked for the reconstruction.

Mr. Dominguez has said that the DoF is considering to float P40 billion worth of such bonds through tranches of P10 billion annually.

“We will issue it definitely in tranches because we should not borrow more than what we need for that year… We already have P10 billion budgeted so we will… get more details on how much is actually required and at what dates,” the Finance chief said.

The National Economic and Development Authority has said that as of June, the United States, Spain, Australia, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have indicated their interest to provide funding support.

The Japanese government has already provided a ¥2-billion grant under an agreement that was inked in May. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan