THE Duterte administration will spend as much as P20 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, which has been under siege by terrorists from the Maute group since May 23.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno made the disclosure during a briefing on the proposed P3.8-trillion budget on Wednesday.
The P20 billion is double the initial P10 billion fund the administration had planned to allot for the rehabilitation of the war-torn city.
“This [P20 billion] is a multi-year scheme. For the next five months, we have allocated P5 billion. For 2018, there will be P10 billion. For 2019, it will still be determined,” Diokno said.
“I would say that it will even exceed P20 billion [in total],” Diokno added.
Diokno assured the public there would be enough money for Marawi’s rehabilitation, considering that there was an available funding of P7.4 billion from the 2016 and 2017 National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Fund; P3.35 billion from the 2017 Contingent Fund and a P15-million donation from China.
“If you ask me, we don’t need a supplemental budget for Marawi,” Diokno said.
At least 200,000 people have been displaced by the Marawi conflict that prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.
Rebuilding of govt structures to cost P8B
The mayor of war-torn Marawi City meanwhile said at least P8 billion would be needed to reconstruct important public structures in the city.
In an interview at the sidelines of the Asean Mayors’ Forum at Shangri-la Hotel in Taguig City, Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra said the conflict had destroyed major infrastructure in Marawi including the business district.
“Right now our initial assessment on the damage is about P8 billion and that is only for public structures,” Gandamra said.
Marawi needs to prioritize the reconstruction of government facilities including schools, roads and basic utilities once the city is cleared of enemy forces, he said.
Rehabilitation work will take years, he said. “I expect the shortest possible time for us to recover is three years,” he said.
Another priority would be the construction of temporary shelters for the residents of Marawi, who are staying in evacuation centers outside the city.
with JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA