The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Thursday pledged to expedite the rehabilitation efforts in the strife-torn Marawi City, assuring the government will not resemble the previous administration’s slow recovery program when Supertyphoon Yolanda wreaked havoc in the Visayas in 2013.
In a press conference in Malacanang, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said the current administration had learned from the past administration, thus, would not allow affected families in Marawi City to suffer for a long period of time.
“The President is very clear on this and he expressed his disappointment in the facilities for Yolanda before. And definitely, hindi na po mauulit ‘yung nangyari [It will not happen again],” Villar told reporters.
The DPWH chief said a master plan for the rehabilitation of the war-torn city has been put in place.
“Currently, we’re coordinating with our ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) counterpart in order to implement (the plan) very quickly,” Villar said.
“The President wants to implement the rehabilitation very quickly. So we’ve been preparing for this over the past few weeks and currently the master plan is ongoing,” he added.
Villar said the government was ensuring that basic needs of the displaced persons were addressed.
“Una, ang basic dyan eh ‘yung tubig at kuryente, kailangan ‘yung resettlement site should be near water and electricity sources, basic ‘yan. That’s something na hindi na mauulit, definitely. We’ve already seen the mistakes from the past and we will not repeat them,” he said.
“We are ready to mobilize all the resources of all our agencies so that the rehabilitation of Marawi will be done at the soonest possible time,” Villar added.
President Rodrigo Duterte had announced a P10-billion budget for Marawi’s rehabilitation amid the ongoing clash between state forces and Islamic State-linked Maute group.
As of 6 p.m. on June 28, Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said the number of civilians killed in Marawi was now at 44, following the recovery of 17 decomposing cadavers.
She said 303 terrorists were killed while 75 government troops died in the fighting.
Rescued civilians, meanwhile, total to 1,711, while firearms recovered are 362, the Palace official added.
According to Banaag, the President may visit Marawi City to mark his first year in office on Friday.
“The President wished to make the people of Marawi feel that we are behind them, the government is behind them, and the President has never left Marawi,” Banaag said.