President Rodrigo Duterte has designated Marawi City rehabilitation czar Eduardo del Rosario as point person who will handle the funds to speed up rehabilitation efforts in the city after local residents complained about the slow completion of reconstruction projects.
In a meeting Wednesday, the President asked Del Rosario to coordinate efforts with the Department of Budget and Management for the swift approval of funds to fast-track Marawi City rehabilitation nearly three years after the seige.
The rehabilitation initiatives were delayed by circuitous approval process in the bureaucracy, according to a Palace statement.
Del Rosario, who chairs the Task Force Bangon Marawi, will work directly with the DBM for the quick release of funds and handle allocations for the projects.
The President earlier vowed to complete reconstruction works in Marawi City before he steps down in 2022. During the meeting, he also promised to monitor the ongoing improvements and rehabilitation work.
The May 2017 Marawi siege displaced around 40,000 households, according to official government figures.
The actual rehabilitation work started in September 2018 by clearing the city of unexploded bombs and debris. The task force reported that the city is now 99 percent cleared of explosives.
The second phase of the rehabilitation effort involves the construction of structures and buildings in the city.
Also present in the meeting were local government officials and leaders of internally displaced persons in Marawi City.
Meanwhile, the Health department, through the Emergency Assistance for Reconstruction and Recovery of Marawi project of the Asian Development Bank, handed over two vehicles to Marawi City Health Office and Lanao del Sur Integrated Provincial Health Office to support the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City and its surrounding areas.
DOH Undersecretary Abdullah B. Dumama Jr. said the vehicles will be used to deliver more efficient community health services in the province. DOH is set to turn over six more units to improve patient access to health care.
The EARRM Project will also fund the construction of two local health units, with essential medical equipment and supplies, to ensure access to essential health services for the affected population.
“DOH never left us since the start of Marawi Siege by providing support to health care operations including the administration of fund assistance from various development partners such as the Asian Development Bank,” said Lanao del Sur IPHO Provincial Health Officer Dr. Alinader Minalang.
Marawi City Health Officer Dr. Ali Dalidig also committed to putting the vehicles to good use, taking into account the guidelines that are stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement.
The Center for Health Development Northern Mindanao, along with the DOH Project Management Team, will regularly monitor the usage of these vehicles, pursuant to its intended purpose, and ensure that sustainability measures are in place.
“DOH is confident that Marawi City, including other affected areas such as the Municipality of Lumbayanague, will be able to rebuild anew and come out stronger than before, with the assistance of our government and key development partners like ADB,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.