THE government will need about P50 billion to rehabilitate war-torn Marawi City, although the amount may not even be enough, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Friday.
“P50 billion, I think, is not enough. If you would see it, you will realize how big the damage the armed conflict has caused to the area,” Lorenzana told reporters in a news conference.
Lorenzana said that while his first estimate was at P50 billion, it may be breached based on his visit last week to the Grand Mosque in Marawi City with President Rodrigo Duterte and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.
“The post-conflict assessment group is starting to go around, and there will be people from the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) and army engineers. In two weeks time, they will finish their assessment and come up with a figure how much we really need to restore Marawi City,” Lorenzana said.
President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao last May 23 to suppress an alleged rebellion by the Maute group, which sought to establish an independent state to be led by Islamist leader Isnilon Hapilon.
Acting on intelligence reports that Hapilon was in Marawi, authorities swooped down on the city to enforce an arrest but were caught off guard when they were met by the Maute group, which staged a series of attacks by taking hostages and killing non-Muslims.
As of September 14, there have been 666 terrorists, 147 government troops, and 47 civilians killed in the ongoing war. About 1,728 civilians have been rescued, based on statistics provided by the military.
About 685 firearms were seized from the Muslim insurgents. LLANESCA T. PANTI