MANILA - The government has completed about a third of rehabilitation efforts in Marawi 3 years after the 5-month terrorist siege that left the city in ruins in 2018, data from the task force spearheading the effort showed Thursday.
Task Force Bangon Marawi revealed this accomplishment rate after Sen. Francis Pangilinan inquired about progress on the city's reconstruction, noting that the government earlier promised to complete its rehabilitation by December 2021.
Some 2,800 families are still living in temporary shelters and are receiving aid from the government, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who is sponsoring the 2021 budget of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) at the Senate floor, said during a budget hearing.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down rehabilitation efforts. Movement has been restricted for months to prevent the spread of the virus.
"Assistance are in the form of free water, electricity, livelihood and relief assistance," she said.
The government has only completed less than half or 46 percent of the "land development" for permanent shelters in Marawi City less than a month before the expected completion of 2,000 houses for victims of the 2017 siege, the senator said.
While permanent housing has yet to be completed, 2,859 of the target 4,852 transitory shelters have been built.
Some 2,000 families have returned to their own homes while 400 others opted to reconstruct their houses instead of waiting for state-built shelters, Hontiveros said.
Despite the low accomplishment rate, Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa pushed to increase the budget for the rebuilding effort, saying victims of the siege still need the national government's help to recover.
"It has been 3 years since government declared the liberation of thousands of families from the Maute group but our brothers and sisters are still struggling for permanent shelter," he said.
"No words can express my personal and perhaps our collective frustrations on what happened to the bustling city of Marawi, but let us all channel these frustrations into collective action and aid our countrymen to start anew," he said of the former urban and cultural hub in Mindanao.
In previous years, the government allotted a total of P60.5 billion for the Marawi rehabilitation, while various private institutions and foreign governments granted the Philippines P30.56 billion in loans and another P3 billion in grants for the project, according to data from the DHSUD.
The Marawi rehabilitation project is expected to get another P5 billion under the 2021 budget.
President Rodrigo Duterte is "satisfied" with the ongoing rehabilitation work but he will "appreciate" a quicker pace, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a briefing last month.
"Well, let’s just say that we are satisfied. But the President, of course, would appreciate if it can be hastened," he said.
Firefights between state forces and Islamic State-linked terrorists in the city left over a thousand dead, mostly militants. Some 160 soldiers and police officers, and 47 civilians also died.
The cost of damage was pegged at P11.5 billion, while economic loss was at P6 billion.