THE military offensive against Islamic State-linked terrorists in Marawi City should not deter the Philippines’ economic growth, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said on Tuesday.
The Cabinet official aired his sentiment during the inauguration of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) project on Tuesday, and as the death toll in the Marawi City fighting exceeded 100.
“Life must go on. The problem in Marawi should not stop or deter us from living normal lives. It will not stop or deter us from moving our economic development as fast as we can,” Tugade said in his speech during the groundbreaking of the LRT-2 East Extension.
President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law on the entire island of Mindanao on May 23 following the siege of Marawi by the Maute terrorist group.
Tugade pointed to the LRT-2 extension as an example of how the government can move forward with big-ticket infrastructure projects while attending to other important matters of state.
New LRT extension by Aug
Work on the LRT-2 East Extension begins on June 6 and is expected to be completed in August 2018. The extended LRT line will be operational in the first quarter of 2019.
Tugade said Filipinos should trust, help and pray for the administration to solve the terrorism problem in Mindanao, instead of blaming President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Let us stop nagging the President and give him worries. What happened in Marawi needs everyone’s attention. Let us give the current administration help, trust, and prayers so that the problem in Marawi can be solved faster,” Tugade said.
The Duterte administration plans to sustain economic growth at 7 percent to 8 percent until 2022 through its “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, which will require spending of between P8 trillion and P9 trillion.
Last week, the Department of Finance said the economy has “ample buffers to withstand adverse effects of the current unrest in Mindanao.”
“The economy is in no way threatened by the imposition of martial law. The military is in full control of the government installations and major infrastructure on the island,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said in a statement last Thursday.