Senate probe into Marawi rehab plan pushed

MANILA — A resolution has been filed seeking a probe into the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation plans of Task Force Bangon Marawi for Marawi City and other areas affected by the ongoing conflict between government forces and Maute Group.

Senator Loren Legarda filed Senate Resolution No. 439 directing the Senate Committee on Finance to look into the plans noting that rehab and reconstruction efforts should include not only public infrastructure but also private buildings and residences that have been destroyed.

“We must restore hope, dignity, and peace in Marawi City and other affected areas. Much more needs to be done to provide basic necessities to families affected by the crisis,” Legarda said in a press statement.

“We must ensure that in addition to immediate aid, they also have access to emergency employment and livelihood assistance even as the conflict continues,” she added.

President Rodrigo Duterte, through Administrative Order No. 3, has established “Task Force Bangon Marawi” to facilitate the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City.

The conflict in Marawi City, which began in March, has led to widespread destruction of critical public infrastructure and facilities and private property.

Citing a report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Legarda said that the conflict in Marawi City estimates that the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has reached 351,168, with the number of IDPs staying in evacuation centers at 17,389 and the number of IDPs living with family/friends at 333,779.

The same report showed that there has been a lack of sanitation and drinking water in overcrowded evacuation centers which has led to a significant rise in the incidence of water-borne diseases and upper respiratory tract infections. The need for shelter assistance is also a critical concern.

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, last week, sought for the creation of an ad hoc committee to oversee the rehab and reconstruction plans in Marawi City.

Under Senate Resolution NO. 428, Ejercito said that he saw the need for an ad hoc committee to “exercise jurisdiction over all matters directly and principally relating to the construction and rehabilitation of Marawi City and other affected areas.”

“Considering the gravity of the destruction brought about by the Marawi crisis, there is a need for the creation of an ad hoc committee,” Ejercito said.

“The continued crisis has left the city with ravaged and shattered buildings, houses, public infrastructures and utilities,” he said.

Citing various reports, Ejercito said that the crisis has forced some 389,300 residents to flee their homes and sought temporary shelters in evacuation centers nearby provinces.

Several other measures and resolutions have earlier been filed in the Senate meant to help the government in its plans to rehabilitate Marawi City and create a trust fund for members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) who were killed or injured in the line of duty. Azer Parrocha/