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Clean Marawi spending

Mario J. Mallari

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No government fund was wasted in the massive rehabilitation of the Marawi City’s infamous ground zero.

This was declared by Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra during an interview by the Daily Tribune in contrast to claims by critics of the Duterte administration.

“I think there is no (government) money lost,” said Gandamra in a telephone interview.

The mayor stressed the government funds released were utilized during the “emergency phase” of the rehabilitation, allocated for interventions like relief operations and financial assistance to those affected.

At the same time, Gandamra said that funds were also allotted in rehabilitating initially the 72 barangays out of the main battle area or the ground zero.

“We have infrastructures being built outside the ground zero like wider road networks going to it. We should not only look at the ground zero,” the mayor added.

Gandamra said that he sought an audience with President Rodrigo Duterte only to further expedite the rehabilitation works within the ground zero where the five-month siege laid by the Daesh-inspired Maute terror group centered.

Through Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, who took part in last week’s ocular inspection by the Senate special committee on the rehabilitation of Marawi City, Gandamra expressed hopes of discussing with the President ways on how to fast-track the rehabilitation efforts.

With the rehabilitation of the areas outside the ground zero, Gandamra said businesses have returned in the only Islamic City in the country as manifested by the 500 percent increase in the local government’s revenue collections for 2019.

Currently, the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) is focused on the rehabilitation of the ground zero composed of 24 out of the 96 barangays — constructing wider road networks, drainage and other public infrastructure to develop a “new Marawi.”

Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, concurrent chairman of TFBM, said that construction of vertical infrastructures will definitely start first semester of 2020.

Del Rosario also stressed that all infrastructure projects will be completed by December 2021 – the timetable set for the rehabilitation.

The mayor stressed that out of 96 barangays in Marawi City, 72 have been re-occupied by residents and business establishments have started operations. Gandamra said applications for business permits are increasing by the day.

The Marawi City siege erupted on 23 May 2017 when terrorists, led by Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers, occupied vital installations in the only Islamic City in the country – killing civilians.

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