The Department of Finance (DoF) confirmed the need for a supplemental budget to rebuild Marawi City but no exact amount was cited.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said economic managers and lawmakers discussed the issue during the Legislative Executive Advisory Council meeting on Tuesday last week.
“The Congress said they will look at it but we did not have the exact figures, and I and [Budget] Secretary [Benjamin] Diokno spoke to [Defense] Secretary [Delfin] Lorenzana to make sure that he comes up with the estimates as soon as possible,” he told reporters in an interview over the weekend.
Some lawmakers had expressed their intention to approve a supplemental budget following the extension of martial law in Mindanao until December.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in May after the Maute Group seized parts of Marawi.
Earlier, the Finance department directed the Bureau of the Treasury to study the possible issuance of P30 billion-worth of debt securities to help fund the massive reconstruction effort for Marawi.
The agency also said that the P30-billion windfall from the Mighty Corp.-Japan Tobacco International (JTI) (Philippines) Inc. buyout deal can also be used for the reconstruction of Marawi and to strengthen the Armed Forces’ capability to fight terrorists.
“The plan really is to bulldoze the area that was affected because the buildings there most likely are already compromised so we don’t want people building over that and not knowing that the reinforcing bars are still strong,” Dominguez said.
“We might as well just rebuild everything. But then the community will be consulted about it,” he added.
Dominguez said government is expecting $3-million worth of equipment from China such as bulldozers and ditch diggers.
State troopers continue to fight Maute members in Marawi amid speculation that one of the leaders of the group, Isnilon Hapilon, escaped.
Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said the military will validate the report.
“We believe he is still there but we are still validating,” Padilla said in a text message on Sunday.
WITH DEMPSEY REYES