SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged the government to speed up the rehabilitation process of Marawi City by asking the full cooperation of the rehabilitation team and all concerned national agencies, local government units and stakeholders.
“Wala namang sapat na rason upang hindi makabangon ang Marawi dahil may mga nakalaang pondo at may mga donasyon. Suportado rin ng Pangulo ang bawat aksyon na may kinalaman sa rehabilitasyon,” Go explained during the hearing.
In a special hearing held at the Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) in Iligan City on Thursday by the Senate Special Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation where Go is a member, the Senator stipulated priorities to complete the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
“Narito ngayon ang Special Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation ng Senado upang dinggin ang mga nagawa, mga hindi nagawa at mga dapat gawin, hindi lang upang makabangon ang Marawi, kundi para makabuo ng panibagong Marawi—isang Marawi na maunlad, mapayapa, at malaya sa mga elementong naging sanhi ng pagkawasak nito, tulad ng droga at terorismo,” Go said.
A Senate Special Committee was created to monitor the rehabilitation progress of Marawi City, headed by Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa. The Special Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation conducted the special hearing based on Senate Resolution No. (SRN) 66 or Reconstituting the Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation, and SRN 29 which seeks to look into the status of Marawi Reconstruction and Rehabilitation.
The Senator added that it has already been more than two years since the Marawi siege ended in October 2017. Go and, most especially, President Rodrigo Duterte are now looking for concrete outputs that should be fruits of the assistance given by the government and donations from the international community for a new Marawi.
“The President has two years left in Malacañan. We want to know how the rehabilitation can be completed. We don’t want the responsible officials to be negligent now and then put the blame on the President later on when his term ends,” Go stressed.
On May 23, 2017, the city of Marawi went into a five-month-long armed conflict between the Philippine government security forces and militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), which also included the local Maute and Abu Sayyaf Salafi jihadist groups.
“Kami po, sampung beses na po kaming pumunta ni Pangulong Duterte diyan sa Marawi, noong kasagsagan ng giyera,” Go continued adding that the Filipino people deserve to know the truth.
Go said that there are many matters that need to be addressed immediately. Among them is how much have been used from the rehabilitation budget and how was it spent. He also asked if proper consultation was made with the community.
“How have the amounts allocated as budget for the Marawi rehabilitation efforts been utilized? How will the government bridge the gap between the diverse culture and beliefs of the internally displaced persons or IDPs in Marawi and the government sector?
“Have the IDPs been consulted and included in the planning, the timetable, the use of resources, the choice of contractors or even the design of their new homes to reflect their culture and consider the particular needs of their Muslim community? Next, what happened to the pledges of financial assistance from other countries?” Go asked.
The Senator emphasized that the Duterte Administration does not want to see unfinished projects in the rehabilitation nor see people blaming each other for shortcomings.
Senator Go said he will set a meeting in Malacañan between President Duterte and the stakeholders and relevant government agencies in order for the President to directly hear the various concerns of IDPs.
“Ayaw kong makita na magsisihan tayo dahil walang nangyari at walang natapos. ‘Yan ang ayaw nating mangyari!” Go said.
Meanwhile, Go expressed frustration upon seeing few rehabilitation houses finished in a subdivision intended for the Maranaos affected by the 2017 siege during his ocular inspection earlier in the area.
He said, “Kanina po, dumaan kami sa isang subdivision, may mga daan. Nag-umpisa na po yung mga daan, pero napansin ko, mas marami pa po kaming mga sasakyang nakita kaysa sa mga bahay na natapos.”
The Senator added that his presence in the said hearing is to listen to the concerns of the affected community, find solutions to their struggles, and determine what needs to be done and what needs to be given attention to.
Go said that many Maranaos are still in Metro Manila waiting to come home to their city. The Senator hopes they can immediately go home to the city to start their lives anew, and build the city back to its former economy and vibrancy.
“Marami rin sa mga kababayan nating taga-Marawi ang naghihintay at nasa Manila ngayon at naghihirap. Nagiging vendors sila sa Pasay at sa Maynila, sa Metro Manila. Gusto lang nila mabuhay at maghanapbuhay,” he said.
Go also said that the government should learn from previous cases when it comes to rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts after crisis situations.
“Alam nating lahat kung ano ang nangyari sa rehabilitasyon ng Tacloban matapos itong salantain ng bagyong Yolanda. Isa itong naging malaking mantsa, hindi lang sa nagdaang administrasyon kundi sa kakayanan ng buong gobyerno at ng ating bayan,” he said.