COTABATO CITY: The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has pledged to support the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City and the rest of Lanao del Sur in southern Mindanao.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol last Friday said even before the 40th Session of the FAO could start, the Philippines had made a huge gain with the commitment by the FAO secretary general to the much-needed rehabilitation of Marawi City, which has been devastated by the Maute Group, a terrorist band affiliated with the Islamic State.
FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva, who led the FAO team that aided the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), pledged assistance to Marawi City during a call by a Philippine delegation on him last Friday.
”It was Director General da Silva who brought up the topic of the Marawi City conflict and said the FAO is ready to assist the Philippine government in the rehabilitation program,” Pinol said.
President Rodrigo Duterte had pledged a P20-billion rehabilitation fund for the city, which was attacked by the Maute Group last May 23.
Piñol clarified that the President’s fund commitment does not cover agriculture and fisheries.
He recalled that the Food and Agricultural Organization raised about $25 million and procured seeds for farmers for the rehabilitation of Central Visayas that was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL