Diokno assures budget for Marawi rehab
By Joann Villanueva
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Wednesday assured Marawi City residents that the government has the funds for the area’s rehabilitation.
In a briefing, the budget chief said authorities had yet to determine the actual rehabilitation cost but said the DBM had an available PHP5 billion from the national risk reduction fund for this year.
“We will not be constrained by funding,” he said, adding that there are groups like the World Bank (WB) that had committed to help in the rehabilitation.
Diokno, who was in the US last week to attend the annual meetings of the WB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC, said WB experts had discussed with the Philippine delegation ways on how to rehabilitate Marawi City, liberation of which was declared by President Rodrigo R. Duterte Tuesday.
He said among the options cited are the mechanics on the rehabilitation of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
He pointed out that what the government really needs now is the technical assistance from experts and not primarily funding, citing also that under the proposed 2018 national budget about PHP10 billion has been allocated for Marawi City’s rehabilitation.
He also said the government is set to issue its planned Marawi bond in the first quarter of 2018.
“It’s a go…We’re planning to float one by January,” he said, citing that they are now discussing the specifics of the debt paper.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana pegged the cost of rebuilding Marawi City at around PHP100 billion.
Diokno, however, said this is yet to be finalized before they would be able to determine the mechanics.
He said a meeting with officials of the defense department, among others, would be held this afternoon to discuss the rehabilitation plan, which he said might be finalized by end-October.
“We expect to hit the ground running on rehabilitation in the next few weeks,” he said.
“Now is the time to move forward and rebuild Marawi into the inclusive, inter-faith, international and modern city it deserves to become,” he added. (PNA)