Palace: Restoring business buildings not gov’t priority in Marawi rehab
MANILA, Philippines — The government would rather prioritize building housing units and giving aid to displaced people in Marawi City than spend for the construction of business establishments destroyed during the five-month war.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued this clarification after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would let rich businessmen spend for the full rehabilitation of the Islamic City.
READ: Duterte to let rich businessmen spend for full Marawi rehab
“Ang sinasabi niya, hindi ba nasira ‘yung mga negosyanteng – ‘yung mga buildings nila doon. Dapat, ang sabi niya, gumastos kayo diyan. Hindi naman pwedeng kami lang ang gagastos diyan,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“Uunahin namin siyempre ‘yung mga taumbayan, hindi ‘yung inyo. You have to spend also for that. You cannot rely on us on that. You have to help us kasi ang priority would be the people there, hindi ‘yung negosyong nasira nung mga businessman kasi may mga pera naman sila,” he added.
He assured the public there’s enough funds for Marawi City’s rehabilitation, but that government has to prioritize its allocation.
“Oo, hindi ba meron naman talagang funds ang Marawi, pero hindi para sa mga negosyo nila,” he said.
“Ang priority syempre, ‘yung mga tao. Sa tao tayo. ‘Yung mga nawalan ng mga bahay doon, ‘yung mga may sakit doon. ‘Yun ang uunahin natin. Hindi ‘yung ire-rebuild natin ‘yung mga building nilang nasira. Hindi ‘yun syempre ang priority,” he added.
The government has set its priorities on what to rebuild first, according to Panelo.
“Ang sabi ni Presidente, ‘Dapat kayo ang gumawa ng diskarte niyo diyan kasi ang priority namin, ‘yung mga tao sa Marawi muna. Yung mga bahay nila, ‘yung mga nasaktan sa kanila, ‘yung mga survivors nila. Pero kayo, dahil kayo naman ay mga negosyante, may mga pera naman kayo, tulungan nyo ang sarili niyo muna,'” he said.
“Sa ngayon, sila muna. ‘Yun ang sinasabi ni Presidente. Later siguro kung hindi mo kaya, eh ‘di mag-loan ka sa gobyerno,” he also said.
“Mabait si Presidente pero kasi si Presidente, ang style nun, kung ano ang pinaka-urgent need, doon muna tayo,” he added.
Panelo further said there was no letup in Marawi City’s rehabilitation after government troops and IS-inspired Maute terrorists clashed in the area in 2017.
He made this assertion even if displaced residents lament their prolonged agony in evacuation centers with local civil society groups and traditional leaders putting the blame on government’s slow response and failed negotiations with Chinese companies for the reconstruction of Marawi.
“Yes, tuloy ang Marawi rehabiltation but the priority would be on the people of Marawi,” he said.
But what would be the government’s specific priorities?
“[Those] who lost their lives, those surviving, ‘yung mga injured. Siguro, uunahin mo muna ‘yung mga hospital, ‘di ba? ‘Yun ang mga kailangan eh. Hospital. Mga health facility,” Panelo said.
“Ang mosque, Muslim naman ‘yun. Eh di syempre, may pera din ‘yun,” he added.
Panelo, however, clarified the President would help small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“I’m sure the President will help them,” he said.
“Alam mo, when you speak of funds na kulang, marami naman ‘di bang nagdo-donate. Meron din tayong budget para doon pero kailangan may priority ka dahil may pera naman sila,” he added. /kga