Duterte rushes release of Marawi rehabilitation funds

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2020 03:51 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2020 05:14 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte holds a meeting to discuss the updates on the Marawi Rehabilitation efforts at the Malacañan Palace on March 4, 2020. Alfred Frias, Presidential Photo

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Department of Budget and Management to rush the release of funds for the rehabilitation of Marawi City which was destroyed 3 years ago after it was attacked by Islamic State-linked extremists.

Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado told ABS-CBN News Thursday that the order was meant to expedite the construction of buildings in the city. Duterte on Wednesday night met privately with representatives of Marawi City to discuss the ongoing rehabilitation efforts in the area.

“He (Duterte) wants the process shortened and the release of funds fast-tracked to facilitate the immediate implementation of the projects particularly in the Ground Zero of Marawi City,” Avisado said.

The President designated Marawi City rehabilitation czar Eduardo del Rosario as “point person” who will work with the budget department for the faster reconstruction of city establishments, Malacañang said.

Government data shows that the Marawi siege displaced around 40,000 families.

Duterte, according to his former aide, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, told the Marawi representative that he would “personally contribute” to the reconstruction of the Grand Marawi Mosque and will visit the area soon.

“What happened to Marawi was a tragedy to this nation and so, in the aftermath, we will do everything to correct the so many wrongs and injustices committed against the Moros, not only in Marawi and Lanao but everywhere in Mindanao,” the President said during the meeting, according to Go.

Islamic State-linked Maute group stormed the southern city of Marawi on May 23, 2017, prompting the President to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.

Even after the city was liberated on Oct. 17, 2017, military rule was extended thrice, which human rights groups and social activists questioned due to alleged abuses.