TO FAST-TRACK MARAWI CITY REHABILITATION
By ROGER M. BALANZA
The Senate has conducted a public hearing and inquiry in aid of legislation to reconstitute the Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation and for the Special Committee to conduct an inquiry on the utilization of funds for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Muslim City in Mindanao that was left in ruins in the 2017 siege by terrorists.
Held at the Mindanao State University-IIT in Iligan City on February 21, the public hearing led by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, chairman of the Special Committee, and joined by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, aimed to ensure that the residents affected by the bloody six-month siege will benefit from the government’s rehabilitation and reconstruction programs.
On May 23, 2017, the Islamic State-linked Maute Group, backed by other Mindanao-based local terror groups, launched attacks on the Muslim City in southern Philippines and occupied residential and commercial establishments.
Hundreds of thousands of residents fled the city as military launched massive operations against the terrorists. The firefights also led to hundreds of dead terrorists, troopers and policemen, and civilians.
Marawi City would be liberated on October 17, 2017, six months after the start of the terrorist attacks that left most parts of the city in ruins and thousands homeless.
The government established Task Force Bangon Marawi to supervise the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the beleaguered city but progress of efforts to put back Marawi City, the Muslim capital of the Philippines, on its feet were slow.
The widely-attended public hearing by the Senate Special Committee, assessed the status of the rehabilitation and ascertained the causes of the snail-paced implementation of the programs to find solutions to avoid further delays.