Gov't "inclined" to level Marawi as part of rehabilitation: Lorenzana
The Duterte administration is planning to level war-torn Marawi as part of its estimated P50-billion rehabilitation effort as clearing the city of Islamic State-inspired terrorists could be completed within the month, officials said on Tuesday.
"We are inclined to level everything. That's also the suggestion of the architects," said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, chairman of the Task Force Marawi during the hearing of the Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation.
He said flattening the highly-devastated parts of Marawi is "much cheaper" than repairing the structures.
Lorenzana said the government might need some P50 billion to rebuild Marawi. In an ambush interview after the hearing, Lorenzana said rehabilitation of Marawi could take three years.
He gave the estimate even if the post-disaster needs assessment has yet to be done due to the presence of terrorists in the city.
Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima of the Office of the Civil Defense said the assessment could be done once the city is completely cleared of the Maute militants.
"We're waiting for the clearance," he said, noting that over 200 "assessors" have been trained to do the assessment.
Asked by Senator Miguel Zubiri as to when the military could fully clear Marawi of terrorists, Lorenzana said, "according to the ground troops, we (can clear Marawi) within the month."
Government troops have been pursuing the Maute terrorists since they started occupying the city on May 23, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the whole of Mindanao.
Over 78,000 families or about 360,000 individuals from Marawi and nearby areas have been displaced due to rebellion in the city.
While rehabilitation in the city has yet to start, the government will provide resettlement areas in Marawi with an estimated amount of P248 million, the Department of Public Works and Highways said.
The initial cost for the damage to roads is P564.25 million, DPWH added.
For the next two months, the Department of Social Welfare and Development said P3.3 billion would be spent for the "continuing relief," such as food and cash for work program for the displaced residents.
The National Economic and Development Authority said a "donors' meeting" will be set to seek their help for Marawi rehabilitation.
Some of the foreign governments and agencies which have pledged assistance for Marawi were Japan, China, Canada, Australia, Germany, South Korea, United States Agency for International Development, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
NEDA refused to give the amount of pledges by the donor agencies. Celerina Monte/DMS