P50B not enough for Marawi rehab, says Lorenzana
A war chest of P50 billion may not be enough to rehabilitate Marawi City given the extensive damage it has suffered from the battle between government forces and Islamic State-inspired extremists, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Friday.
Lorenzana said the amount was his initial estimate when asked during a recent Senate hearing how much would be needed for Marawi’s reconstruction.
“But when we went there last week with the President … I think P50 billion is not enough. The destruction is really massive,” Lorenzana said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
A postconflict assessment group that includes members of the Philippine Army and the Department of Public Works and Highways has begun inspecting the cleared areas of the city to check on the conditions there, he said.
President Duterte earlier pledged P20 billion for the Marawi rehabilitation efforts, promising to restore the city to its former glory.
Lorenzana said the government would use the funds donated by other countries for Marawi’s reconstruction, except those from China, which specified that its grant would go to the wounded soldiers.
Australia has pledged P1 billion, while the United States said it would give P730 million. Japan and Thailand have pledged P100 million each. The European Union has also pledged P49 million.
Of China’s P85-million donation, P70 million would be for the wounded soldiers, and P15 million for their rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana also said the Department of National Defense would be seeking an additional budget of P2.5 billion this year to replenish funds depleted by its operations in Marawi.
Most of the funds had been used for ammunition, fuel, medicines and incidental expenses, such as evacuation. The request for more funds was already forwarded to the Department of Budget and Management, he said.
Congress had also promised to pass a supplemental budget, he said.
Lorenzana said the conflict in Marawi was winding down based on the assessment of ground commanders. The fighting has displaced about 200,000 residents and destroyed roads, homes and other buildings.
Inquirer calls for support for the victims in Marawi City
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