Japan offering $3-million worth of grant for Marawi rehab; military seeking for replenishment: Diokno
Japan has been offering $3 million worth of grant for the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Wednesday.
In a breakfast forum in Pasig City, the budget chief also said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been asking for a "replenishment" for their armaments, including bombs, in the wake of the Marawi crisis.
He said the grant from Japan would be in the form of heavy equipment.
"Japan is also offering the same, around $3-million worth of equipment, so that's P150 million," he said, noting that the Philippines is also asking for a $3-million grant from China for equipment also.
He expressed hope that the grant from Japan will be formalized during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Manila when he attends the ASEAN summit and related meetings in November.
"Eventually, we can used (the equipment) in some other things, for engineering brigade (of the military)," Diokno said.
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Eduardo Ano earlier said that the government troops were on their final phase to finally clear Marawi of the Islamic State-inspired terrorists.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said they hope to clear Marawi of the militants within the month.
He estimated that the government might need some P50 billion to rebuild Marawi.
But according to Diokno, there was no estimate yet as to how much could be spent for the Marawi reconstruction because "financing follows the plan and I've not seen the plan."
The inter-agency task force Marawi has yet to come up with a post disaster needs assessment as the military has not given its assessors the go signal to enter the devastated city.
Diokno said the government has set aside P5 billion for this year for Marawi rehabilitation and P10 billion for next year.
Should there be any need for additional fund, he said the government could tap the windfall from the P30-billion settlement made by cigarette manufacturing Mighty Corporation with the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, Diokno said there is a request to his office from the military for replenishment.
"Their (stocks) have been used up, like the bombs. So they're asking for replenishment," he said, but refused to give the amount the AFP has been asking.
"They did not expect that Marawi would occur," he said.
The additional budget for the military will come from the P6-billion contingency fund of President Rodrigo Duterte, he said.
The government troops have been pursuing the Islamic terrorists since May 23 when they started occupying Marawi.
The AFP is also conducting offensive operations against other terrorists and lawless elements, like the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mindanao, which is still under the state of martial law due to the rebellion in Marawi. Celerina Monte/DMS