By Genalyn Kabiling
The government might need more than P50 billion for the rehabilitation of war-ravaged Marawi City even as it is grateful for the P2.064 billion worth of foreign relief assistance.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he originally estimated P50 billion could cover the Marawi rebuilding efforts but the figure might be insufficient due to the massive destruction in the area.
“When we went there last week with the President — early this week — I think P50 billion is not enough. Talagang grabe ‘yung destruction [The destruction is really severe],” he said during a Palace press briefing.
“When the fighting stops and we will — I will bring you there, you will see how — how damaged the area is,” the country’s defense chief told reporters.
Once the military’s clearing operations in Marawi are complete, Lorenzana said the government could accurately determine the amount needed to rehabilitate the city “in two weeks.”
He said the post-conflict assessment group has started to visit the cleared areas to review the damage so far. The group includes the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Philippine Army engineers.
Early this month, Lorenzana appeared before the hearing of the Senate special committee on Marawi City rehabilitation and declared that P50 billion would be needed to bankroll the reconstruction of Marawi City.
At the time, he said the rehabilitation fund would cover the roads, bridges, buildings and other infrastructure damaged or destroyed in the clashes between government troops and the Maute terror group.
Donations from various countries meantime continued to pour in for the relief and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City.
The biggest foreign assistance came from Australia with a pledge of P1 billion, according to Lorenzana.
He said the United States has offered P730 million in assistance for Marawi while Japan and Thailand offered P100 million each.
Of the P85 million donated by China, Lorenzana said Beijing set aside P70 million to help wounded troops and another P15 million for the rehabilitation of Marawi.
He said the European Union has also pledged P49 million in Marawi assistance.
At present, Lorenzana said the construction of the transitional shelters for the displaced Marawi families has started early this month. “Flooring muna ngayon (for now), for the transitional quarters — shelters has started last September 8,” he said.
He said real estate firm Filinvest has offered to help government task force in the provision of water supply in the transition shelter site. The company officials will meet with local water authorities “to work on a plan to provide the service,” he added.
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