President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an administrative order forming an interagency task force that will focus on the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi City and other areas affected by the ongoing armed conflict.
Duterte, through Administrative Order (AO) 3, which he signed on June 28, established “Task Force Bangon Marawi,” to be headed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar.
“Following weeks of armed conflict, the City of Marawi sustained significant damage to its public infrastructure and utilities, as well as private properties located therein, thereby displacing thousands of its residents,” Duterte said in his order.
“The loss of lives and widespread destruction require a unified and comprehensive effort on the part of the National Government to rehabilitate the City of Marawi and other affected localities,” he added.
Among the functions of Task Force Bangon Marawi is to develop and implement a comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery program based on a post-conflict assessment of Marawi City and other affected areas.
Lorenzana, the administrator of martial law in Mindanao, on Monday said the task force was preparing the mechanism to go into the “rehabilitational recovery,” as soon as the fighting stops in Marawi City.
“Since I am also the chairman of the NDRRMC, the National Disaster [Risk Reduction and] Management Council, I’m going to use the NDRRMC as the vehicle to implement the rehabilitation of Marawi because we consider the events in Marawi as a man-made disaster,” Lorenzana told reporters during the “Mindanao Hour” news briefing.
“We already have one engineering brigade, Army brigade, always on standby who will go there immediately once the fighting stops to start rebuilding the infrastructure of the city,” he added.
According to the AO, the task force is also mandated to organize and deploy a quick response team that will provide for the immediate needs of displaced or adversely affected families in the continuing battle in the war-torn city.
It is also tasked to conduct a post-conflict needs assessment of Marawi to develop and implement a “Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program.”
The task force will facilitate and oversee the construction of temporary and permanent shelters for displaced persons, as well as coordinate the immediate restoration of water and electricity utilities and the repair and reconstruction of public buildings and infrastructure.
Duterte also ordered the task force to attend to the health and sanitation, food, and other basic needs of affected residents; provide an environment conducive to the revival of business and livelihood activities; and ensure the restoration and maintenance of peace and order.
The chairman of the task force, meanwhile, is directed to “consult with Muslim leaders in the rehabilitation of predominantly Muslim localities.”
“We will involve the local government leaders there, the mayors, the governors, the barangay (village) captains, because we are going to establish a defense mechanism here so that the event for the past month in Marawi will not be repeated,” Lorenzana told reporters.
The President also instructed the Task Force to form subcommittees on reconstruction; housing; health and social welfare; business and livelihood; and peace and order.
Members of the task force include the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff; the Philippine National
Police chief; and the heads of the Education, Budget, Health, Information and Communication Technology, Local Government, Science and Technology, Social Welfare, Trade, and Transportation departments.
Other members are the Cabinet Secretary, the heads of the National Economic and Development Authority and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Local Water Utilities Administration chairman, the Mindanao Development Authority chairman, National Electrification Administration chairman, and a representative of the Office of the President.
Task Force Bangon Marawi will submit monthly progress reports through the secretary of National Defense, until the “objectives of the Task Force have been achieved.”
The President has allotted P20 billion for the recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi City, which will be sourced from available funds of the member-agencies of the task force.
On May 23, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, following the attacks of Maute terror group in Marawi City.
Fighting has claimed the lives of 39 civilians, 337 Islamist fighters, and 84 security troops, as of July 2.