Marcos orders measures to speed up Marawi recovery

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Marcos orders measures to speed up Marawi recovery
This photo taken on May 23, 2021 shows workers walking along a newly paved road past homes which were destroyed in 2017 when Islamic State-inspired Muslim militants laid siege to the southern Philippine city of Marawi, resulting in a five-month campaign that claimed more than 1,000 lives until government troops re-took control.
AFP / Ferdinandh Cabrera

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos has ordered the streamlining and strengthening of functions of various government agencies to fast track the reconstruction of Marawi City and other areas affected by the 2017 armed conflict between government forces and the ISIS-inspired Maute group.

Under Administrative Order (AO) 14, signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on Dec. 22, the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) will cease operations today and will be functus officio – or of no further official authority or legal effect – by March 31, 2024.

The TFBM’s unused funds will be turned over to the Office of the President, the AO said.

“To ensure institutional stability, it is imperative to institutionalize and strengthen the functions of implementing government agencies involved in the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the City of Marawi and other affected localities,” Marcos said in
 issuing the order.

Marcos particularly ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government to maintain peace and order in Marawi City and other affected localities, and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development to facilitate and oversee completion of housing projects for the affected residents.

The Department of Public Works and Highways was also ordered to coordinate the complete restoration of public utilities such as water and electricity and the repair and reconstruction of public buildings and infrastructure.

Marcos, meanwhile, directed the Department of Health and the Department of Social Welfare and Development to ensure health, sanitation, food and other basic needs of residents; and the Department of Trade and Industry to provide an environment conducive to the revival of business and livelihood activities.

The TFBM was created pursuant to AO 3 in 2017 as amended by AO 9 to oversee the progress and completion of several programs and activities under the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program.

However, while the TFBM performs supervisory roles such as coordination and monitoring activities, Marcos pointed out it is still the government agencies that execute the projects needed for recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi.

He noted the arrangement has resulted in delays due to “redundant and superfluous bureaucratic layers in the national government.”

The President said there is a need to rationalize the functions of government agencies “in order to promote efficiency and organizational coherence in the bureaucracy consistent with the rightsizing policy.”

As part of winding down its operations, Marcos ordered the TFBM to facilitate the reversion to the OP of the remaining balance of the TFBM Trust Fund.

It is also mandated to conduct an inventory of its assets, properties and ensure proper accounting and turnover of the funds and settle its outstanding obligations and submit a Consolidated Audited Report of Disbursements to the OP on or before March 31, 2024.

The TFBM has been directed to submit a Comprehensive Transition Report to the President.

The President also repealed AOs 03 and 09 series of 2017 and all other orders, rules and regulations and issuances or parts of the orders – the bases for the creation of the TFBM – that are inconsistent with the provisions of AO 14.

Over 100,000 Marawi residents were displaced when the Maute group attacked Marawi City on May 23, 2017, prompting then president Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.

The armed clashes lasted for five months.

Duterte signed Republic Act 11696 or the Marawi Siege Compensation Act of 2022 in April last year.

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