Return to glory: Lawmakers push for Marawi rehabilitation

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 17 2017 03:59 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte visits Marawi City late May. Malacañang photo

MANILA - A congressman on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent proposed laws concerning the rehabilitation of Marawi. 

Duterte has announced the liberation of Marawi after some 4 months of battling Islamic State-linked terrorists, a prolonged conflict that left more than 1,000 dead and reduced the once-bustling city into ruins. 

Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque said the President should call for the immediate passage of House Bill 5874 or Tindeg Marawi that allocates a P10 billion supplemental budget for Marawi, as well as House Bill 222 that seeks to protect internally displaced persons (IDPs).

"With these 2 bills hand in hand, we can start picking up the pieces immediately and rebuild better and stronger," Roque said. 
 
The budget earmarked under Tindeg Marawi shall be used to provide humanitarian assistance to victims of the siege and for the rehabilitation of destroyed infrastructure, properties and businesses, the congressman explained. 

House Bill 222 meanwhile mandates authorities to ensure that internally displaced persons (IDPs) are given proper accommodation and are not separated from their families. 

Roque said the bill, which he filed on his first day in office, also provides for a one-stop-shop to respond to the needs of IDPs and an inter-agency coordinating committee to periodically monitor the implementation of the law. 

REBUILDING SCHOOLS 

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Karlo Nograles meanwhile urged the government to start reconstruction of some 28 schools damaged by the Battle for Marawi. 

"Let us not forget to give focus on the needs of pupils and teachers when we finalize the Marawi City Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Plan, which will serve as the blueprint for Marawi's return to glory," said Nograles. 

The Davao representative added that a return to school "is the best slice of normalcy than we can provide the children of Marawi City."
 
"This will soothe the scarred spirit of the youth and speed up the city's own healing," he said. 

RETURNING OLD GLORY 

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles meanwhile proposed the creation of a non-partisan and non-sectarian commission that would would design and manage the reconstruction of Marawi. 
 
The task of returning Marawi to its old glory as the center of Islamic culture in the Philippines, he said, is an enormous logistical and financial undertaking that would require honest and dedicated civil work experts, logisticians and city planners.
 
He added that a single government body, fully backed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, should manage the funds for the reconstruction. 
 
"I think that we should learn from our Yolanda experience. There were too many cooks that spoiled the broth. Everyone's claiming credit for the projects but when problems began to manifest, everyone's playing the blame game," Nograles said. 

"We should do this differently in Marawi by creating a single government body that orchestrates all the needed reconstruction projects." 

Nograles also said martial law should remain in place even after the last remnant of the Maute militants have been flushed out to ensure swift and uninterrupted reconstruction efforts. 

REWARDING SOLDIERS 

Abra Rep. JB Bernos, for his part, said soldiers should be compensated financially for neutralizing terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute on Monday. 

Malacañang had announced a P5 million bounty for the "neutralization" of each of the Maute brothers, and P10 million for Hapilon.

A separate $5 million bounty was also offered for the arrest of Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf leader who was said to be the anointed ISIS leader in Southeast Asia. The Marawi clashes supposedly started when troops tried to serve an arrest warrant on Hapilon. 

"It is only proper that our soldiers also become entitled to the bounties for these terrorists," Bernos said. "After all, it was them who put their lives on the line to track and neutralize Hapilon and Maute."

Bernos, vice chairperson of House public order and safety committee, said the fall of the 2 terror leaders "usher in a new chapter in the city's history one that is centered on maintaining peace and stability amidst diversity of beliefs of its people."