Ecozone seen rising in Marawi

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Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III INQUIRER File Photo

To revive Marawi’s economy, the government is set to establish a “community-based” economic zone in the war-ravaged city, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said.

The Department of Finance quoted Dominguez as saying that such an ecozone would help Marawi City bounce back from ruin and create jobs plus livelihood opportunities for its returning residents.

“Besides providing residents with basic necessities such as water and electricity, the government would also provide them with access to the internet so that the small, community-based industries set up within the ecozone could take part in e-commerce tie-ups through online selling platforms such as lazada.com.ph and alibaba.com,” Dominguez said.

The community ecozone in Marawi will not supply large companies, but would primarily serve as a tool to help open economic opportunities for its struggling residents, Dominguez explained.

The DOF said Dominguez discussed this initiative forming part of the government plan to reconstruct and rehabilitate Marawi City during a recent meeting with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC) president and chief executive Takeshi Kunibe.

“We appreciate your enthusiasm in taking part in the rehabilitation efforts for Marawi. As part of this rehabilitation program, we are planning to put up a community-based economic zone in the area for small industries, local food processing and small foundries,” Dominguez told Kunibe.

For his part, Kunibe expressed SMBC’s willingness to assist the Philippines in its reconstruction and rehabilitation program for Marawi and congratulated President Duterte on his administration’s successful effort to liberate the city from the influence of ISIS-inspired extremists, the DOF said.

Most of Marawi was reduced to rubble during the five-month battle for the city, with 200,000 residents displaced.

Last week, Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the city was expected to cost about P90 billion.

The head of the interagency task force overseeing the rebuilding of war-torn Marawi City also wanted martial law in Mindanao extended to secure rehabilitation efforts and foil attempts to recruit people into terrorist groups. Bangon Marawi Task Force chair Eduardo del Rosario said “intelligence reports” suggested massive attempts by local Islamic State (IS) supporters to recruit people to their cause.

President Duterte declared martial law over the whole of Mindanao on May 23 after IS-allied extremists attacked the city, but congressional approval of the move expires on Dec. 31 unless extended.

Del Rosario said any new eruption of violence would derail efforts to rebuild Marawi and could scare off contractors and workers.

“If something will happen in Marawi City during the rehabilitation phase, maybe no contractor or laborer would ever go there. Rehabilitation would be difficult,” he said. Rehabilitation efforts need the support of the entire citizenry, he added.


Inquirer calls for support for the victims in Marawi City

Responding to appeals for help, the Philippine Daily Inquirer is extending its relief to victims of the attacks in Marawi City

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