By Vince Angelo C. Ferreras, May 27 2019; Business World

Image Credit to Associated Press

OVER P4 billion in funding was left unutilized in 2018 for the rehabilitation of Marawi City due to the absence of rebuilding proposals from various agencies, an official overseeing the city’s reconstruction said.

The P10 billion rebuilding fund paid out P5.624 billion, leaving a remaining balance of P4.375 billion, Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario, who chairs Task Force Bangon Marawi, said, adding that the rebuilding effort was hindered by the failure of agencies to submit project proposals.

“Whenever we meet, we asked the implementing agencies to submit their proposals to the Office of Civil Defense for funding,” Mr. Del Rosario told a House committee hearing.

Another reason for the unspent funds was the problem of validating the list of families entitled to assistance.

“Before it was 78,000 ang binibigyan natin ng (that were being given) assistance. It turned out ‘yung (the) 78,000 was too high because we discovered double entries… Nagkaroon tayo ng (We conducted) profiling, (and employed) biometrics. (That’s why) from 78,000 it’s now down to 45,000 families,” said Mr. del Rosario in a chance interview with reporters.

In 2019, P3.5 billion will be added to the unspent P4.375 billion to fund rehabilitation.

“The most affected is just 0.8 [%] of the total, the 250 hectares out of the 8,000 [hectares]. This is the focus of our rehabilitation kasi ito ‘yung mga na-damage na buildings (this where most buildings were damaged). Sa ngayon, nagka-conduct tayo ng debris management para matanggal ‘yung mga buildings na nasiraPara by November, wala na ‘yung mga buildings at bomba sa ilalim,” (For now, we are focusing on debris management… and hope to remove all wreckage and dangerous material by November), Mr. del Rosario said.

He added, “As early as July or August magsisimula na ‘yung (We will start) road network construction… there are about 22 projects to be implemented. The first and second priority projects will be implemented within the year while the third priority projects will be implemented in the first quarter of the next year.”

Some of the priority projects include the construction of public markets, barangay halls, and school buildings.

“We are on track and we are on target, we will complete the rehabilitation based on our timeline,” Mr. del Rosario said.

Rehabilitation works in Marawi City are targeted for completion by December 2021. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras