ARMED Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Eduardo Año said Sunday he is confident that government forces will be able to end the Marawi crisis this month.
“We will finish it because it is the time to finish it, and that is calculated based on our projection of being able to rescue the remaining hostages, neutralizing the last terrorist and minimizing casualties of our troops and civilians,” Año said in an interview with GMA News on Sunday.
Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Joint Task Group Ranao, said Saturday that there was no need to ask for another extension to the Oct. 15 deadline to end the crisis.
Año said they received reports that some of the 40 remaining Maute group members in Marawi City were wounded.
Eight foreign fighters were commanding the remaining members of the Maute group, he said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, meanwhile, proposed that Malacañang be given a standby fund of P15 billion for Marawi reconstruction, on top of the P10 billion that is already in the 2018 national budget bill.
He said the additional P15 billion for the rehabilitation of the war-destroyed city can be included in the Unprogrammed Appropriations portion of the P3.76 trillion spending measure.
He said that parking that amount in the Unprogrammed Appropriations would cancel the need for the passage of a supplemental appropriation bill in the event that the P10 billion for Marawi is not enough, or has been fully spent before the end of next year.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had announced that “at least P50 billion” will be needed to rebuild Marawi, which Recto described “as more damaged than Mosul,” the northern city in Iraq recently liberated from ISIS.
Earlier, Senator Loren Legarda said more funds have been allocated for the quick recovery and rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City under the proposed 2018 national budger.
Legarda, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, said that aside from the budget under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund for Marawi’s rehabilitation, the Senate also introduced additional funding to ensure quick recovery of the whole community.
“In light of Marawi City’s current situation, we are making available P10 billion of the NDRRM Fund for 2018 for the city’s quick recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation. This amount is on top of the P5 billion given this year from the Contingent Fund and funds of different government agencies,” she said.
“We are also making available a P500-million subsidy for a loan facility for Marawi residents, under the auspices of the Land Bank of the Philippines, to enable them to reconstruct their damaged houses,” she added.
She said that under a special provision in the 2018 general appropriations bill, it is specified that such loans will be free of interest, but the loanable amount shall not exceed P2 million per household and the LBP may charge the borrower the administrative cost incurred in processing the loan.
Legarda also said the Senate restored the P1-billion budget of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Shared Service Facilities Project, and that P50 million of the fund will be allocated for micro, small and medium enterprises affected by the war in Marawi.
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