Marawi rehab won’t be like ‘Yolanda’ — Sec. Villar

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 June) – The government won’t repeat in Marawi City the mistakes of the past administration in handling the rehabilitation program for areas hit by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013, Public Works secretary Mark Villar.

Villar, in a press briefing in Malacañan Palace Thursday said the rehabilitation plan for Marawi will be more sensitive to the needs of the affected residents.

He said rehabilitation will start right after the fighting between government troops and Maute Group ends.

“Well the President is very clear on this and he was… He expresses his disappointments in the facilities for Yolanda before and definitely hindi na po mauulit iyong nangyari (definitely, it will not happen again),” he said.

He assured a resettlement site should be near a water source and electricity.

Villar said the government is already working on the upgrading of facilities at the evacuation centers.

Smoke envelops a portion of Marawi City’s downtown area after a military plane dropped three bombs on 14 June 2017. MindaNews photo by H. Marcos C. Mordeno

“In fact, even with the tent cities we’ll be assisting them with the basic amenities for the tent cities but of course that’s part of the short term. That’s within—for the next 6 months,” he said.

The long-term plan, he said, will include new areas for civilians.

He said the Department of Budget and Management is prepared to release the budget for the rehabilitation and assistance for the evacuees.

He did not disclose details of the masterplan, as work on it is still ongoing in coordination with Marawi City Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra.

But he assured the government will be ready to immediately implement rehabilitation works as soon as the Marawi crisis ends.

“It was done by experts and it will be utilizing all the latest, in terms of urban planning. In terms of urban planning, it will be very … it will be very efficient. And I’m sure it will be improvement also,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he will allocate P20 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

Villar said he cannot yet determine the cost of the rehabilitation as they could not go inside the city to make an estimate, but added P20 billion is a significant amount and “marami tayong magagawa sa (we can already do so much with ) 20 billion in terms of rehabilitation.”

“We have to see to the extent of how much has been damaged and how many people we have to give, if what kind of assistance they need so until such time as we can get a firm assessment on the ground. It’s hard to give exact numbers,” he said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office assistant secretary Marie Banaag said that, as of 6 p.m. of June 28, 44 civilians had died, 1,711 civilians had been rescued, 303 terrorists had been killed, and government casualties had reached 75.

Government troops recovered 362 firearms, she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)