MANILA-- Senate Pres. Aquilino Pimentel III on Tuesday urged the private sector to provide residents in the conflict-torn Marawi City with jobs and livelihood to aid the government's efforts to rebuild the city.
Pimentel, who hails from Mindanao, said that the government is prepared to invest as much as PHP20 billion to rebuild Marawi but noted that the private sector's assistance would be needed to provide livelihood and economic opportunities for Marawi's 200,000-plus population.
"The financial resources the government is committing for Marawi City will help repair the infrastructure damage and aid residents get back on their feet," Pimentel said in a statement.
"But after we help the residents and the city heal, we must provide them with jobs and economic opportunities because while recovery is our initial objective, prosperity should be the ultimate goal. In this regard, the private sector can play a significant role," he added.
He pointed out that business groups in Mindanao like the Mindanao Business Council could take the lead in exploring investment opportunities in Marawi City as soon as normalcy is restored in the city.
"I believe that if the government and business community successfully rebuild Marawi City and show that we care for our distressed countrymen in Mindanao, this will help prevent the seeds of extremism from taking root -- and this in turn will contribute to ensuring stability and security in the region and the rest of the country," Pimentel said.
"With government forces getting close to resolving the conflict in Marawi City, we must now start planning for the rehabilitation of the city," he added.
It may be recalled that Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella earlier announced that the Executive Order for Bangon Marawi (Rise, Marawi) is now being prepared for the President's signature. The PHP10-billion project will be led by the Department of National Defense and will also include the Departments of Trade and Industry, Department Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Energy, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology, among others.
In addition to this, MalacaAang has also endorsed a proposed PHP10 billion supplemental budget to finance the rebuilding efforts in Marawi City. Abella said the "Tindeg Marawi" bill filed in Congress would allot another PHP10 billion for the city.
Source: Philippines News Agency