MANILA — An administration lawmaker on Tuesday said a massive and well-organized reconstruction effort to rebuild Marawi City should be underway following the reported deaths of top terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.
In a statement, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles proposed the creation of a non-partisan and non-sectarian reconstruction commission which would design and manage the reconstruction of the war-torn city.
Nograles said the task of rebuilding Marawi City is an “enormous” logistical and financial undertaking that would require an honest and dedicated group of civil work experts, logisticians and city planners.
He also noted that the proposed government body, fully backed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, should manage the funds and financial aid for the city’s reconstruction.
“I think that we should learn from our Yolanda experience. There were too many cooks that spoiled the broth. Everyone’s claiming credit for the projects but when problems began to manifest, everyone’s playing the blame game,” Nograles said.
“We should do this differently in Marawi by creating a single government body that orchestrates all the needed reconstruction projects,” he added.
Nograles recommended that the martial law remains in effect even after Maute troops have been flushed out to ensure the swift reconstruction efforts in Marawi City.
“We should rebuild Marawi to make it a better place for those who have undergone so much pain. As one people, we have a moral responsibility to help heal the wounds of war,” Nograles said.
Nograles’ older brother, Karlo, suggested that the government prioritize the reconstruction of shelled and bombed-out local schools.
He referred to a Muslim Affairs panel hearing, wherein it was learned that 18 out of the 69 schools in Marawi City were heavily damaged. Another 10 schools were reportedly flattened due to the bombings.
“Let us not forget to give focus on the needs of pupils and teachers when we finalize the Marawi City Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Plan, which will serve as the blueprint for Marawi’s return to glory,” the older Nograles said.
The Davao City lawmaker said being able to go back to school “is the best slice of normalcy that we can provide the children of Marawi City.”
“This will soothe the scarred spirit of the youth and speed up the city’s own healing,” Karlo said.
Fighting in Marawi City erupted when government forces tried to arrest Hapilon who was declared as the ’emir’ of the terror group ISIS in Southeast Asia last May 23.
This prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.