USAID convenes business forum for Marawi rehab » Manila Bulletin News

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By Ali G. Macabalang

Cotabato City – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has convened here a day-long forum in Gen. Santos City for more than 100 business leaders and government officials across Mindanao to identify ways of generating investments and assistance for the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City.

Marawi City (Keith Bacongco | Manila Bulletin File Photo)

In a statement sent to The Mania Bulletin over the weekend, USAID said the participants “responded with interest in developing real estate, agriculture, manufacturing, and energy” in the city after Marawi Mayor Majul U. Gandamra presented a draft proposal of his turf’s rehabilitation plan at the forum held last November 28.

The event was held in partnership with the business chambers of Cagayan de Oro, Gen. Santos, South Cotabato, and Marawi; the Muslim Business Forum; the League of Cities of the Philippines; and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, who attended the forum.

Hardy said the participants discussed development prospects and challenges, as well as business opportunities, in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, with the objective of organizing a private sector response to support the restoration of the local economy.

“The local business community should be the leaders in investing in and advancing sustainable socio-economic development,” Hardy said as he assured the American government’s support through the USAID.

“The U.S. government remains a committed partner with the Philippine government and private sector in achieving inclusive economic prosperity in Marawi City and the entire province of Lanao del Sur,” he added.

USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) project spearheaded the coordination of the forum.

Through the SURGE project’s more than P2.4-billion allocation, USAID has been helping Philippine cities plan effectively, attract investments, and promote competition for more sustainable and inclusive growth, Hardy said.

He said the business forum formed part of the U.S government assistance, through the USAID, in rallying Philippine authorities in the early recovery, stabilization, and rehabilitation of Marawi City.

On September 5, Hardy said, the U.S. government announced a commitment of nearly PhP750-million in emergency relief and recovery assistance to support communities affected by the conflict in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, and the surrounding areas.

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