By Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development

QUEZON CITY, May 24 — Very inaccurate and unfair to 56 government agencies involved in the Marawi rehabilitation.

This was how Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Chairman Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario described the statements issued by some opposition politicians, led by Vice President Leni Robredo, criticizing the government’s efforts in rehabilitating war-torn Marawi City.

“With due respect to the Vice President and other members of the political opposition, the national government, particularly the TFBM, has not ceased from pursuing the massive rehabilitation of Marawi City,” Secretary Del Rosario said.

“To say that there is government inaction in Marawi City is very unfair to all who have not stopped working to continuously assist our Maranao sisters and brothers since the liberation of Marawi in October 2017 to date,” he added.

Earlier, Vice President Robredo criticized what she claimed as government inaction in Marawi City –three years after the Daesh-inspired Maute terrorist group laid siege on the only Islamic City in the country.

Other members of the political opposition also took the third anniversary of the siege on Saturday as an opportunity to criticize the government’s efforts in Marawi.

On the contrary, Secretary Del Rosario said that even the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic did not stop TFBM from providing assistance to Marawi City residents.

In fact, the TFBM Field Office, led by Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr., reported that there are currently no more internally displaced persons (IDPs) staying inside evacuation centers. All IDPs are now housed in mostly government-built transitory shelters.

Recently, Secretary Del Rosario ordered the release of P10.5 million to the Marawi City government to provide financial and livelihood assistance to about 4,000 IDPs amid the adverse effects of COVID-19.

“I want to assure everyone that TFBM is on top of the rehabilitation efforts and I am optimistic that we can meet our target of completing the major projects by December 2021,” Secretary Del Rosario stressed.

He added that he expects the rehabilitation works to go full blast starting July this year following President Duterte’s approval of the release of P3.56 billion budget for Marawi projects last April and May 2020.

Also, the Marawi City government, in close coordination with TFBM, has already started infrastructure projects within the Most Affected Area (MAA).

“Let me reiterate the government’s commitment not only to rehabilitate Marawi City but to establish a peaceful and economically progressive city since total Rehabilitation is not only constructing physical infrastructures but equally important are the numerous social, economic, health, educational and peacebuilding interventions that TFBM agencies are implementing,” Secretary Del Rosario vowed.

No less than Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra had previously stated that normalcy has returned with increased economic activities outside the MAA. (DSHUD)