MANILA - A portion of the P20 billion that President Rodrigo Duterte earmarked for the rehabilitation of Marawi City will be sourced from the budget of slow-moving government projects, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Thursday.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the budget of slow-moving projects from the education, public works, agriculture, and environment and natural resources departments will be reprogrammed to address the relief and rehabilitation needs of the besieged city.
Cash assistance for government troops killed and wounded in action may be sourced from the President's Social Fund, Diokno said.
Relief and housing assistance, meanwhile, may be sourced from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and National Housing Authority, respectively.
“There is also money from National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management fund and the contingent fund,” Diokno said in a text message to reporters.
Diokno said the government will first assess the needs of the affected population and prepare a short-, medium-, and long-term plan.
“Financing follows the plan,” he said.
According to Diokno, part of the P20 billion will be released and spent in 2017, and P10 billion will be released and spent in 2018 for the reconstruction of damaged houses and infrastructure in Marawi.
The remaining budget will be released in 2019.
Diokno earlier told dzMM that an initial rehabilitation fund of P5 billion will come from the contingent fund and funds being held by different government agencies.
Based on the 2017 national budget, the government has a contingent fund of P5.5 billion and a calamity fund of P37.255 billion.
President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to rebuild Marawi City, part of which is now in ruins after militants inspired by the Islamic State laid siege to it last month.
The Marawi crisis has displaced more than 300,000 people from Marawi and outlying areas.
Over 400 people, mostly suspected terrorists, have died since the clashes erupted in the city on May 23.
The clashes prompted Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law, citing the militants’ bid to establish an Islamic State province in Mindanao.
The emergence of groups pledging allegiance to the terror group is now the biggest security problem to face the year-old Duterte administration.
The rise of pro-ISIS groups in the country has raised alarm in Washington and the Philippines’ neighbors in the region, which fear that the notorious terror group was seeking to establish a new front in Asia amid its successive losses in Iraq and Syria.
While the military has expressed confidence that the crisis will be over soon, security experts worry that the Marawi attack may be part of a bigger plan of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.