COTABATO CITY – Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament Member Zia-ur Rahman Alonto-Adiong has warned about undue rating on snail-paced reconstruction efforts in war-torn Marawi City, saying it will be affront or “disadvantageous” to the public – especially the thousands of displaced city residents.
Adiong, himself a displaced Marawi resident, aired the caution at the maiden episode of the weekly “Tapatan” Forum of the Bangsamoro Press Corps (BPS) on Saturday, Aug. 21.
The BPC, formed last April 17 among over 120 journalists covering events in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), asked Adiong about his view on claims by the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) that infra rehabilitation in the city was 70 to 75 percent finished, and the full completion is expect by end of this year.
TFBM Chairman and Human Settlement and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo del Rosario announced after a visit last July 23 that “ongoing horizontal and vertical projects in the Marawi rehabilitation” (reached) about 70 to 75% complete.”
Sec. Del Rosario told lawmakers in 2020 that the state had already released about P22 billion for the rebuilding of the city, which was left in ruins after a five-month clash between government troops and Daesh-inspired local extremists that began on May 23, 2017.
Many concerned sectors including fiscal analysts have taken turns in social media channels in questioning the actual rate of rehabilitation efforts, especially if compared to Del Rosario’s announced P22-billion fund releases.
Adiong would neither confirm nor refute the TFBM claim, but he hinted at the need for precise rating of rehab efforts to avoid aggravating false hopes among Marawi’s internally displaced persons (IDPs.) He once served as provincial government spokesman at the height of the Marawi siege.
However, as far as the context of the total package of rehab efforts for Marawi and recovery of its displaced residents, he said the accomplishment rating was farfetched.
Adiong said authorities including the TFBM should be prudent in giving assessment ratings on the rehabilitation efforts because this would be “disadvantageous” to the people of Marawi.
He said inaccurate appraisal might lead the next administration to stop providing funds for the total rehabilitation and recovery package for Marawi and its IDPs.
In his last and final state-of-the-nation address (SONA) last July 26, President Duterte asked the TFBM to hasten the construction efforts in Marawi so the IDPs can return home and rebuild their lives.
Sec. Del Rosario had repeatedly set timelines for the return of IDPs but failed in his promises, prompting outspoken leaders of evacuees to call him a “habitual liar.”
In a webinar this month last Aug. 20, National Housing Authority Undersecretary Zyril Carlos echoed the TFBM rating of accomplishment and the release of over P20 billion rehab funds.
But Lanao del Norte Rep. Khalid Dimaporo refuted Carlos’ report, saying the TFMB has allegedly breached cultural sensitivity among the Maranarao community.
Like other TFBM officials, Carlos also could not categorically answer the Philippine Muslim Today news’ question on who is responsible for the tracing of some 40,000 Marawi IDPs scattered across the country.
While he argued their own data showed only about 19,000 IDPs still staying outside Marawi, Carlos would cite any particular agency that will track down the IDPs and bring them home after the completion of rehab infra projects.
Malacañang and TFMB officials have asserted that Marawi and its displaced people would be able to rise to better heights before the end of President Duterte’s office term on June 30 next year.
The President in his last SONA had asked Congress to act on his administration’s five or six legislative agenda, which did not include the long-pending Marawi Compensation Bill meant to indemnify private properties ruined by bombs in the 2017 siege.
PMT NEWS DESK