By Wilnard Bacelonia

Marawi City, Oct 30 – The Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and its member agencies reiterated today their pledge of support for Marawi siege victims on the groundbreaking ceremony for the most affected area’s rehabilitation and reconstruction.

In a press briefing after the groundbreaking event, TFBM chairperson and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Secretary Eduardo del Rosario assured that while the area is under debris clearing and reconstruction, internally displaced persons (IDPs) will be completely relocated on temporary shelters not later than the first quarter of 2019.

“There are still 812 families on different evacuation centers right now and they are the first priority to occupy the 1,500 units of temporary shelters on Barangay Buganga,” said Sec. del Rosario.

The official further explained that they are targeting 500 residents who will be allowed to occupy in December and the remaining 312 will be on the 1st quarter of 2019.

Undertaken by Finmat International Resources Incorporated, a local developer, the debris clearing started on sector 1 as a pilot project worth 75 million pesos estimated to last for six months or even less.

“We will even start with other sectors before the six months end. We would just like to see how debris management will work. Once we have determined the adjustments that we have to make, then among the proponents who would like to undertake the debris clearing, we will award the remaining sectors,” del Rosario added.

TFBM Chairperson and HUDCC Secretary Eduardo del Rosario with Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra and Senator JV Ejercito leading Time Capsule Laying and Groundbreaking ceremony in Marawi City (PIA/J.Umaran)

Meanwhile, the official also assured that displaced residents can return to their homes after one year and six months or less.

Accordingly, TFBM has 15 to 16 billion pesos worth of projects in the most affected area of Marawi and 47.5 billion outside of this area.

Funds for Marawi rehab

During the press briefing, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro explained how much the government is spending for Marawi.

“We all know that under the General Appropriations Act of 2018, 10 billion pesos were allotted by the government for Marawi City under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund. As of October 10, 4.6 billion pesos were released, that is, with Statement of Allotment and Release Order (SARO). There are also 3.9 billion pesos earmarked for different projects, programs and activities and 1.5 billion pesos are still available,” Usec. Navarro said.

The NEDA official also announced that there are 3.5 billion pesos Marawi component of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund in the National Expenditure Program 2019. The total amount for Marawi in the upcoming General Appropriations Act (GAA) 2019 will include the regular agency budgets proposed by different government agencies. The total amount will be known once the GAA is passed.

NEDA has been working closely with TFBM which was established by the President’s Administrative Order No. 3 as the inter-agency task force for the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi City.

NEDA is also working closely with the Department of Finance, which heads the TFBM resource management subcommittee. It also led the TFBM’s planning process for the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program, which incorporated inputs of the Marawi City and Lanao del Sur local governments and the ARMM regional government.

“Five to ten years from now, I see business thriving in this city promoting Islamic culture, and also an education hub for Christians and Muslims,” Usec. Navarro added.

From relief goods to livelihood and empowerment

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development also assured the displaced residents in Marawi City that they will continue to give them food and non-food packs.

DSWD Undersecretary Luzviminda Ilagan said that she understands the people’s current sentiments.

“DSWD has been at the frontline on relief assistance since the beginning. We just have to follow the process to make sure that the real Marawi IDPs will benefit from our support and other programs,” Ilagan explained.

She also noted that DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) has allotted slots for Marawi and still identifying more qualified beneficiaries. Ilagan, a former party-list representative, also shared that she and other former colleagues in Congress talk about Marawi from time to time.

“Marawi is always in our minds. Marawi is always in our implementation of projects and programs. Congress is concerned about Marawi projects. There are many bills pending with regard to compensation,” said Usec. Ilagan.

“They are also asking how can other agencies help, and I would say it is the convergence. Task Force Bangon Marawi is a very good example of how all agencies are working together,” Ilagan added. ###