De Lima wants probe on blacklisted Chinese firms tapped in Marawi rehab


Posted at Jun 01 2018 05:44 PM

The Sarimanok Tent City in Marawi City, May 22, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Senator Leila de Lima on Friday called on the Senate to investigate transactions involving previously blacklisted Chinese firms tapped to help in the reconstruction of war-torn Marawi City.

De Lima filed Senate Resolution 756, saying the Philippines should not be forced to transact with companies that have been proven involved in corrupt practices in the past.

Critics have questioned the inclusion of China State Construction Engineering Corporation and China Geo-Engineering Corporation in the Bangon Marawi Consortium after it was found that they were once blacklisted by the World Bank for allegedly colluding with Philippine companies to rig projects the bank partly financed.

The blacklist period for the two firms has since lapsed, the inter-agency Task Force Bangon Marawi noted.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had earlier said that while the two firms were once blacklisted, they are still entitled to “a second opportunity.”

He added that government would carefully monitor developments in the rehabilitation process.

“We’re not completely giving up the rebuilding of Marawi to the hands of private sector ‘no. This remains to be a government project, and the Task Force Bangon Marawi will focus on this,” Roque said in a mix of Filipino and English during a press briefing in Marawi City last week.

The Philippines last month marked the first year since the breakout of the Marawi crisis, which saw Islamic State-inspired terrorists capture parts of the predominantly Islamic city in a bid to establish a stronghold in Southeast Asia. 

Over 1,000 people, mostly ISIS-inspired terrorists, were killed and at least 200,000 residents were displaced during the 5-month siege. The government has yet to fully reopen the city to civilians, some of whom wish to rebuild their homes.