Marawi rehab may entail P80-B budget

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MANILA — The rehabilitation and reconstruction of war-torn Marawi City and its surrounding areas may require a budget of up to PHP80 billion, according to Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman Eduardo del Rosario.

Del Rosario, who is also the chair for Task Force Bangon Marawi, told reporters that some PHP22 billion is likely to be spent just to rebuild “ground zero.” He was referring to the now totally devastated area within the city where the fiercest fighting between government troops and ISIS-inspired Maute terrorists took place over a five-month period.

He added that the rehabilitation program outside the most affected areas will require PHP55 billion, which interventions include efforts from various government agencies. “I think it will fall to PHP80 billion [at the most],” del Rosario said.

He said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allotted only PHP10 billion for this year.

Other sources include official development assistance (ODA) funding, like the one recently signed between the Department of Finance (DOF) and Japan International Cooperation Agency for USD18.6-million grant aid for Marawi rehabilitation.

DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier said 47 percent of the budget for Marawi rehabilitation will come from the budget of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

A pledging session is also being eyed by the government to raise funds — either through grants or loans — for the rehabilitation program, Dominguez said. He added that the government likewise aims to offer retail bonds for domestic and international markets.

Moreover, del Rosario mentioned that there will be consultations and negotiations with stakeholders until next week before the development plan is subjected to a Swiss challenge starting May 26.

The development plan for Marawi and other conflict-affected areas is initiated by Bagong Marawi Consortium, involving Filipinos and Chinese companies.

Del Rosario said the government targets to have the groundbreaking for the rehabilitation of the most devastated areas in Marawi by June 16. The entire program is expected to take four years to complete and is expected to be delivered by December 2021. “What they will do is a day and night work, so it will be fast,” the HUDCC chief said.

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