Ground­break­ing in June, com­ple­tion by De­cem­ber 2021

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - By Ben O. de Vera @ben­de­v­er­aINQ

The gov­ern­ment will spend up to P80 bil­lion on the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­con­struc­tion of wartorn Marawi City, with ground­break­ing slated for mid next month.

Task Force Ban­gon Marawi chair Ed­uardo D. Del Rosario told re­porters that the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of “ground zero,” or the area most af­fected by the five­month fight­ing be­tween gov­ern­ment forces and Is­lamic State sup­port­ers last year, was es­ti­mated to cost P22 bil­lion.

An­other P55 bil­lion will be al­lo­cated for in­ter­ven­tion in sur­round­ing ar­eas, Del Rosario said.

The to­tal cost of re­build­ing Marawi and its out­skirts in the next four years could reach P80 bil­lion, Del Rosario said, adding that the fi­nal fig­ure would be de­ter­mined by the first week of June.

The gov­ern­ment had al­ready al­lo­cated P10 bil­lion un­der the 2018 na­tional bud­get, while the Bureau of the Trea­sury planned to is­sue so-called “Marawi bonds” to raise funds, Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los G. Dominguez III said.

“We will be is­su­ing bonds specif­i­cally for Marawi, and they will be re­tail bonds be­cause we think ev­ery Filipino will want to share in the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Marawi. We will also of­fer in­ter­na­tional agen­cies and coun­tries an op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the fi­nanc­ing of the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Marawi. This fund­ing will be such that it will be in­clu­sive—it will en­cour­age peo­ple not only here but also abroad to par­tic­i­pate. We can as­sure every­body that th­ese funds will be prop­erly and pru­dently used and will not be sub­ject to graft or cor­rup­tion,” Dominguez said.

To com­plete the re­con­struc- tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Marawi by De­cem­ber 2021, ground­break­ing in the most af­fected area was sched­uled for June 16, or “a week after if we en­counter any de­lay,” Del Rosario said.

“What we will do is work day and night to be faster, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he added.

This week, the in­ter­a­gency Task Force Ban­gon Marawi will fi­nal­ize the in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment blue­print, Del Rosario said. He said they were hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in iden­ti­fy­ing the lo­ca­tions due to “re­sis­tance” from the com­mu­nity. “We have to look for an­other lot where there’s no re­sis­tance to gov­ern­ment ac­qui­si­tion,” he added.

Del Rosario said the pro­posal of the Bagong Marawi Con­sor­tium to de­velop and de­sign the city’s re­con­struc­tion will be sub­jected to Swiss chal­lenge next week.

In three weeks’ time, the gov­ern­ment will de­ter­mine if the of­fer of the con­sor­tium—which is com­posed of five Chi­nese firms and four lo­cal com­pa­nies—is the best op­tion for the com­mu­nity and the gov­ern­ment be­fore award­ing the deal, Del Rosario said.

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