Only P10.7 billion of the estimated P350 billion in foreign donations pledged for the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City were channeled through the national government, according to Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, head of Task Force Bangon Marawi.
Appearing before the Commission on Appointments for the fourth time for his confirmation as housing chief, Del Rosario was questioned on the help pledged by other countries for the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
Del Rosario said they received P10.7 billion from the Asian Development Bank, China and Japan.
“For the donations pledged by other counties, they are usually channeled through non-governmental groups that will then undertake programs,” Del Rosario said.
“Most countries will just announce that they are pledging or giving support in this amount, but with regard to the project implementation, they go directly on the ground and mostly for early intervention activities,” added Del Rosario whose ad interim appointment as secretary of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development was finally approved by the commission.
His confirmation hearing was suspended three times for several reasons, including lack of time to accommodate lawmakers’ questions.
In an earlier committee meeting, Senator Panfilo Lacson asked Del Rosario on the DHUSD’s plan for the resettlement of the families affected by the recent typhoons.
Del Rosario said the agency had now identified the locations for the resettlement, and that they would then submit the requirements to the Office of the President for funding.
Meanwhile, the commission also confirmed the promotion and nominations of 60 senior members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including deputy chief of staff Vice Admiral Erick Kagaoan.
Before the commission’s session, its Committee on National Defense recommended the approval of the promotions and nominations of the senior military officials.
During the hearing, Senator Imee Marcos inquired about the military’s capabilities in responding to calamities like “Yolanda” and the recent typhoons considering its limited resources in responding adequately to catastrophes.
Marcos said the AFP had tactical support planes, a few helicopters and naval ships.
“Today, the current operational doctrine is that we prioritize humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Have things improved by way of equipment and capability?” Marcos said.
Brig. Gen. George Blanco, senior military adviser to the President, said the AFP was currently relying on support from other countries because of limited resources and some aircraft could not land in calamity-stricken areas because some runways were not suitable for landing.
Meanwhile, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. asked Vice Admiral ErIck Kagaoan about his position on the reports that China had drafted a Coast Guard law allowing its forces to use weapons in enforcing maritime laws in its claimed territories in the West Philippine Sea.
Kagaoan said the issues on the disputed territories were being handled by the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea, of which he was a member. He said the report had been validated by the task force and that issues like that were being handled diplomatically.
Senator Risa Hontiveros found a “strong but prudent” diplomatic voice for the country’s operations at the West Philippine Sea in Kagaoan.
She asked about his opinion on the implications of a seemingly aggressive possible defense secretary of the United States on the tensions around China’s artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Kagaoan then said “any move that will sustain the stability and security of the South China Sea, especially the WPS, and any move strategically and diplomatically is so welcomed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”