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Government, donors spent P21.5 billion for social services in Marawi

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By Bernadette D. Nicolas

The national government as well as international agencies have so far spent a total of P21.5 billion for social services for Marawi residents since the start of the siege, Task Force Bangon Marawi Chair Eduardo Del Rosario said on Monday.

Of this amount, P15 billion was spent by the national government for humanitarian work while they have accounted P6.5 billion coming from development partners and other multilateral partners.

Del Rosario, who is also the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council told reporters that the bulk of P15 billion was allocated to Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“Remember in 2017, P5 billion was issued for relief assistance and in 2018 P10 billion was allocated by the national government and given to different departments for livelihood, health services..,” he said, noting that this was also the source of the transitory family support package to Marawi residents amounting to P53,000 aside from the P20,000 livelihood settlement grant.

He also said that they have accounted so far about P35.5 billion in Official Development Assistance from different countries, including Spain and Japan.

Broken down, the loan by the government to development partners amounted to P30 billion while grants reached P5.5 billion.

Moreover, Del Rosario once again assured that despite the delays, Marawi reconstruction is still on track to be completed by December 2021.

“We are on track with our timetable, we are now and the debris management started and because of the presence of unexploded explosives and ordinances, we have tapped the Armed Forces of the Philippines experts on this aspect, including the expertise and latest equipment provided by the contractor. So we have given our timetable that clearing will be completed by August 30 of the year, and the demolition of the damaged structures by November 30 of the year. And as well as September of the year, the vertical construction of projects, public infra will commence,” he said.

As for the construction of temporary shelters, Del Rosario said this has been ongoing since last year and they have provided P1,800 temporary shelters.

He added that they will be allowing residents to go back soon to repair their houses and buildings.

“In fact, starting of July of the year, July 30 we will now start allowing the residents to go back in sector one and in August and September and so forth, every moth there’ll be two sectors that will be coming in. the most affected area was divided into 9 sectors. So in July sector 1, 2, 3 will be in August and the last will be on November wherein sectors 8, and 9 will be allowed to come in to repair their destroyed building,” he added.

Out of the total P44,000 families, residents of the most affected area were estimated to be P18,000 families.

However, Del Rosario clarified that these residents cannot yet stay there to live as there is still no water and electricity.

“The water and electricity will soon start construction of the water and electrical facilities by September of the year. So most likely the requirements for water and electricity will be available by the early part of 2020,” he said.

The Philippine government earlier denied a Washington Post report this year describing Marawi City as a “ghost town” more than a year after the 2017 Marawi siege, saying the city is “alive and booming.”