MANILA � The interests of local residents, particularly those of the Maranao people, will be the top priority in rebuilding war-torn Marawi City, Task Force Bangon Marawi (TBFM) assured Friday.
TBFM continues to work closely with the local governments involved to make sure that we keep the interests of the Maranao our top priority, TFBM spokesperson Kristoffer James Purisima said in a Bangon Marawi media briefing at Malacanang Palace.
Purisima made this reaction amid media reports saying local residents have not been consulted about programs, projects and activities (PPAs) to be implemented as part of the rehabilitation of Marawi.
A group of Marawi residents had reportedly asked President Rodrigo R. Duterte to stop the proposed construction of an economic zone and a military camp in Marawi.
TBFM chairperson Eduardo del Rosario clarified that there was no proposal yet to build an economic zone in the area, although the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) made an offer to build one in Marawi City.
It's a misconception or deception I could say, because there is no ecozone being planned. It is an offer by PEZA, if they want to have. If they don't want, then so be it. Nobody is imposing, he said.
In a press statement Thursday, del Rosario said TFBM continues to conduct dialogues and consultations with the Sultanate, local Ulamas and Imams as well as the business sector, youth, academe, various families and clans, internally-displaced persons (IDPs), and non-governmental organizations.
This to further suit our plans to the needs of the Maranaos, he said.
Del Rosario said some uncooperative groups have been propagating dubious information that harms the relationship between the Maranaos and the government.
We urge everyone to direct all concerns to us, so that we may address them swiftly and truthfully, he said, adding that the government will continue to hear the grievances and suggestions of the affected communities.
We will do our best to make our plans as inclusive as possible and make sure that no Manarao is left behind on our journey to bring back the glory of the City of Marawi City, he added.
Del Rosario said the vision of the government is to bring back better the most affected areas in Marawi with improved facilities, such as road networks, water, electricity and telecommunication.
He estimated that at least PHP75 billion would be needed for the rehabilitation and recovery plan of Marawi City, which was left devastated by a five-month conflict between government forces and Islamic State-inspired groups last year.
It has a total budgetary requirement of PHP55 billion pesos, plus more or less PHP17 billion to PHP20 billion for the most affected areas, he said.
Meanwhile, del Rosario said the selection of the Bangon Marawi Consortium (BMC) to come up with a plan to rebuild Marawi's 250-hectare most-affected area is not yet final.
The BMC has to undergo the Swiss challenge where other interested firms could try to outbid BMC's PHP20 billion offer to rebuild Marawi.
We expect the Swiss challenge to be completed by May 25 and if successful again, we will award on May 31 whoever will be the winner. Once awarded, the ground breaking will be on June 7 of 2018 and completion will be in the last quarter of 2021, del Rosario said.
The BMC is composed of five Chinese firms China State Construction Engineering Corp., Ltd., Anhui Huali Construction Group Co. Ltd., China Geo Engineering Corp., TBEA Co., Ltd., and Shandong Jinyuan Homes Industry Development Co. Ltd. and four local partners Future Homes Philippines Inc., A Brown Company, Inc., HS Pow Construction and Development, and SDW Realty & Development, Inc. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency