MANILA -- Some politicians want to "capitalize" on President Rodrigo Duterte's supposed rejection of using government funds for the rehabilitation of Marawi, the head of the government housing council said Tuesday.
Duterte was recently quoted as saying, "I don’t think that I should be spending for their buildings," referring to those destroyed when state forces retook the southern city from Islamic State sympathizers who held it for 5 months in 2017.
The President only meant that the government will not provide assistance for the construction of businessmen's "personal houses and buildings", said Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chairman Eduardo Del Rosario.
"There are some politicians who would like to capitalize on the statement of the President," he told ANC.
"The statement might be misconstrued... But the reality is (government) will continue the rehabilitation. The government will provide house and lots to those informal settler families," he added.
Thousands of houses were destroyed when state forces retook Marawi from Islamic State sympathizers who held it for 5 months in 2017.
The government will give houses and lots to some 4,000 illegal settlers in the banks of Lake Lanao and Agus River, said Del Rosario.
A proposed law seeking to compensate residents whose houses were damaged is also pending in Congress, he said.
HUNT FOR BOMBS
The government aims to finish by November the search for around 43 unexploded ordnance left by the fighting, Del Rosario said.
"We cannot fast track [this]. 'Pag ginawa natin iyun safety will be compromised," he said.
Troops have recovered 5,000 improvised bombs, he noted.
The cost for Marawi's rehabilitation, which is expected to be completed in 2021, has reached P60.5 billion, said Del Rosario.