With the government poised to invest billions of pesos to rebuild Marawi City, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel on Tuesday said that the private sector’s support would be a critical element in efforts to help the residents of Marawi recover from the armed conflict that has devastated the city.
“With government forces getting close to resolving the conflict in Marawi City, we must now start planning for the rehabilitation of the area,” said the Mindanao-born senator, who was responding to the latest update from Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, who revealed that government forces were now in control of 96 of Marawi’s barangays and were now working to neutralize the remaining members of the Maute group still hiding in isolated sections of the city.
Pimentel said that the government is prepared to invest as much as 20 billion pesos to rebuild Marawi, but added that the private sector’s assistance would be needed to provide livelihood and economic opportunities for Marawi’s 200 thousand-plus population.
“The financial resources the government is committing for Marawi City will help repair the infrastructure damage and aid residents get back on their feet,” said Pimentel.
“But after we help the residents and the city heal, we must provide them with jobs and economic opportunities because while recovery is our initial objective, prosperity should be the ultimate goal. In this regard, the private sector can play a significant role,” explained Pimentel.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella had earlier announced that the Executive Order for Bangon Marawi was now being prepared for the President’s signature. The 10 billion-peso project will be led by the Department of National Defense and will also include the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Education, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Information and Communications Techonology, among others. Abella explained that the project would begin after clearing the city.
In addition to this, Malacañang has also endorsed a proposed 10 billion-peso supplemental budget to finance the rebuilding efforts in Marawi City. Abella said the “Tindig Marawi” bill filed in Congress would allot another 10 billion pesos for the city.
Pimentel said that business groups in Mindanao like the Mindanao Business Council could take the lead in exploring investment opportunities in Marawi City after government secures the area and restores normalcy in the city.
“I believe that if the government and business community successfully rebuild Marawi City and show that we care for our distressed countrymen in Mindanao, this will help prevent the seeds of extremism from taking root – and this in turn will contribute to ensuring stability and security in the region and the rest of the country.”