Ground Zero debris clearing to cost billions

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Clearing the debris of war in Marawi could take two to three years and the cost of reconstruction and rehabilitation could run into close to a hundred billion pesos, according to officials of Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM).

The Office of Civil Defense, TFBM lead agency, conducted a Post Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA) of Ground Zero and said the P10 billion the national government is allocating for rebuilding Marawi may not be enough as the effort could cost as much as P90-billion.

Local government officials are also in a quandary where to place all the debris from the clearing operations.

The civil society organizations in Iligan and Marawi also expressed their concern that the debris might just be dumped into Lake Lanao.


Lenie Alegre, officer-in-charge of the Post Disaster Evaluation and Management Division, said the PCNA team visited the cleared barangay (villages) of Marawi to look into the critical needs of the affected sectors, including damage and loss assessment of fishponds in the affected villages.

TFBM Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr., said the conduct of PCNA is also a multi-agency task that involves the Office of the Civil Defense, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Work and Development, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education and the Department of Energy and Natural Resources.

Complementing the activity was the assessment made by Mindanao State University technical personnel who assessed the cost of rebuilding the city.

Another difficulty foreseen in rebuilding Marawi is the fact that a large portion of its land belong to “public domain” as a military reservation. The 1953 Presidential Proclamation No. 453 signed by then president Elpidio Quirino reserves “for military purposes a portion of the public domain situated in the City of Dansalan in the island of Mindanao.”

The military reservation sits on 66,671,627 square meters or some 6,667 hectares of land.

Meanwhile, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman and TFBM head Eduardo del Rosario on Friday said the P10 billion budget allocation, instead of a P90 billion eyed by the local government, should not misguide the public since the costing would be based on the post-conflict needs assessment,.

“Actually, we are waiting for the results of the post-conflict needs assessment. Once it’s finished, we will be able to factor the damage [cost], opportunity loss and rehabilitation cost,” he said during the Mindanao Hour media conference in Malacañang.

Del Rosario was reacting to the decision of Senate to allot P10 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi contrary to what Marawi Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra rooted for – at least P90 billion.

He said the exact budget for the Marawi rehabilitation will also be based on the final results of the total comprehensive, rehabilitation and reconstruction plan to be initiated by the NEDA which will be ready on the last week of March.

DEMPSEY REYES AND TED KHAN R. JUANITE

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