November 25, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

WB, ADB may provide Marawi rehab assistance

TWO MULTILATERAL institutions may collaborate in pooling assistance grants for the rehabilitation of Marawi City, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

Mr. Pernia said the World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) are studying the possibility of technical assistance (TA )grants.

“The World Bank has expressed interest in helping, it’s a technical assistance grant for rapid damage and needs assessment over the short medium and long term, what are the needs for reconstruction and rehabilitation over short medium long term, and which also could be implemented with other partners,” he told reporters last Monday.

“And ADB has also expressed interest in formulating a TA project for rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi, so I guess ADB and World Bank will be collaborating. I don’t think they should be competing,” Mr. Pernia said.

On top of the technical assistance, the World Bank is also working on a possible emergency loan -- which is expected to be arranged in four to five months -- not just for the conflict in Marawi, but also in other areas where conflict is rife.

“Also they are looking at emergency reconstruction and development loan, an additional emergency loan, for expanding activities in the ... MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) areas. These emergency loans will be prepared in four to five months,” he said.

Quizzed on the specifications of the aid packages, Mr. Pernia said: “That’s still being worked on.”

“Things also have to go through the process in the World Bank. It’s a TA grant so it should be faster than loan,” he said.

Mr. Pernia noted that the government still does not have a damage assessment of the Marawi siege -- which started on May 23, that prompted the government to put the whole island of Mindanao under martial law.

“That’s more difficult to [determine] at this point. It’s fluid,” said Mr. Pernia, when asked for initial estimates.

An Executive Order that Malacañang announced early this month bearing the title “Bangon Marawi” -- a proposed blueprint for the rehabilitation of the city submitted by the Defense department -- is awaiting Mr. Duterte’s signature.

The government has so far alloted P20 billion for rehabilitation. The Chinese government has also donated P15 million for Marawi’s revival.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released so far a total of P662.5 million for the government’s operations to support displaced civilians.

Earlier this month, the DBM said it transferred P800 million in intelligence funds to the military and the Philippine National Police for combat operations. -- Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan