MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte may leave office next year with the rehabilitation of the war-torn Marawi City still not complete, a civic society group said Tuesday.
"Most probably. 'Yan ang personal ko na basa, with the situation ngayon, 'yung pacing ng TFBM (Task Force Bangon Marawi)," Saripada "Tong" Pacasum Jr., member of Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch, told Teleradyo.
(...That's my personal reading, with the situation now and the pacing of TFBM.)
In his final State of the Nation Address Monday, the President challenged the task force to fast-track the rebuilding of Marawi City.
Duterte admitted that "rebuilding a better Marawi remains today still not completed" 4 years after the fierce months-long battle that left the southern city in ruins.
The task force earlier said public infrastructure projects in Marawi were about 65 percent complete.
However, Pacasum criticized the government's snail-paced rehabilitation program, saying it would take a few more years.
"Sa akin (For me), probably 2 to 3 years pa. It's still a long way to go," he said. Bombed-out families are still living in temporary shelters years after the city was besieged by terrorists, he added.
Pacasum said they were also calling for the passage of a compensation bill, which he said Duterte didn't mention in his last report to the nation.
"Kasi kahit na pabalikin kami lahat, kung wala ring means na pang-repair itong ating mga kababayan, na nawalan ng hanapbuhay, nawalan ng ng properties, magulo eh," he said.
(Even if we'll go back there, if we don't have financial means after losing our livelihood and properties, it will be difficult.)
Pacasum said the slow rebuilding of Marawi made him feel there is discrimination against Muslims.
"Personally, ang dating sa akin medyo may discrimination pa rin among Muslims. Kasi for a project to take 4 years, para sa amin, nawalan kami ng bahay [at] hanapbuhay tapos itong compensation bill wala rin, parang nabalewala kami," he said.
(Personally, I felt there's still discrimination towards Muslims. For a project to take 4 years after losing our homes and livelihood and the lack of a compensation bill, it felt we're forgotten.)
Marawi City was reduced to rubble during a 5-month war against Islamic State-inspired homegrown terrorists in May 2017.
In October last year, a peacebuilding organization said over 100,000 residents were still living outside the most affected area of Marawi.