Gov’t eyes ‘multi-year’ funding for war-torn Marawi

MANILA — The government is now prepared to mobilize P5 billion worth of funds from the national budget for the rehabilitation and recovery of war-torn Marawi, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Friday, July 14.

During the regular Mindanao Hour Press Briefing in Malacañan, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno stressed that the funding for the city’s reconstruction would be a “multi-year task.”

So far, DBM has already identified P5 billion worth of standby funds from the 2017 budget of various government agencies, the bulk of which will come from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Diokno said that for the following year, the DBM has already set aside P10 billion that will come from the P25.5 billion budget allocated for the NDRRMC.

“The bulk of this will come from the NDRRMC fund and then the contingent fund,” he said.

The Budget chief also said that the international community has expressed willingness to assist the Philippine government in the recovery of Marawi.

Among the international organizations that committed financial help are the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Diokno then assured the public that all funds would be properly accounted for.

“Why is accountability important? Well, we learned our lessons from the ‘Yolanda’ incident. The Filipino people should know how the money was spent,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, member-agencies of the Inter-Agency Task Force Bangon Marawi are set to conduct a meeting with local officials and chief executives to formalize the initial rehabilitation plan.

Office of Civil Defense Post-Disaster Evaluation and Management Chief Lenie Alegre said the sub-committees are expected to present their initial plans to the local government units by next week.

“So, even before we end the conflict, the government is actually planning ahead for early recovery and rehabilitation as well as possible reconstruction,” Alegre stressed.

For his part, Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. reiterated the military’s continuous efforts to restore normalcy in the areas of conflict.

He said two engineering brigades are already on the ground and are working closely with local officials in preparing the temporary resettlement area for the evacuees.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the clearing operations of infrastructures in Marawi City are progressing positively, with 48 more buildings cleared yesterday, July 13. Around 600 buildings remain to be cleared.

As for the donations for Marawi victims, as of July 13, donations for soldiers killed in action have soared to P5,554,823.23 while donations for internally displaced persons have reached P779,727.21. PND/