By Junex Doronio
MORE THAN THREE YEARS after the “Battle of Marawi” that devastated the once majestic Islamic city, Marawi remains in shambles prompting Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon to question what he calls as “grossly insufficient” rehabilitation fund allocated under the proposed P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget.
“The rehabilitation fund is grossly insufficient,” Drilon, potential vice presidential bet of the opposition for the 2022 national polls, declared on Monday.
It can be recalled that the Marawi siege lasted for five months that started on May 23, 2017. Government troops fiercely fought the radicals affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups.
Earlier, Task Force Bangon Marawi chief and Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario claimed that about P11 billion worth of properties in the city were damaged while P6.6 billion worth of economic opportunities were lost because of the siege.
He said the government intends to complete the rehabilitation of Marawi by December 2021.
But Drilon, basing on his office’s own research, said the damage in Marawi City amounts to P70 billion yet the government has only allocated P3.5 billion for 2020 and P5 billion for next year.
“Our countrymen there have been suffering for the last two years,” Drilon stressed.
The opposition lawmaker from Iloilo City said his office receives reports from residents who “are really complaining about the very slow rehabilitation that is being undertaken.”
“Indeed, that is confirmed now by the meager budget for next year,” Drilon said. “We seriously doubt the sufficiency of the funds to fund the rehabilitation of Marawi.”
He chided the government for “relying on donations and official development assistance.” (AI/MTVN)