President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, August 16, directed concerned government agencies to fast track all necessary preparations in anticipation of the reconstruction and recovery of war-torn Marawi City.
The President met with officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of National Defense (DND), Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), National Housing Authority (NHA), Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), and Home Development Mutual Fund (PAG-IBIG) to discuss the planned rehabilitation phase for areas affected by the hostilities in Mindanao.
During the meeting held in Malacañan, the Chief Executive asserted that the government should be fully prepared to immediately execute the recovery plans for the Islamic City and other affected areas once the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are done with the clearing operations.
He said once all the fighting is done, it would purely be a “civilian endeavor” to rehabilitate the areas.
The President particularly stressed the need to continuously provide displaced families with their most basic needs, such as food and clean water.
In response, DSWD Undersecretary Hope Hervilla said the distribution of goods in all evacuation centers is still ongoing.
On the provision of shelters for internally displaced persons (IDPs), NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. said the construction of temporary shelters will begin in September. Priority will be given to around 4,900 families living in evacuation centers, NHA noted.
The Trade department, for its part, laid down its own initiatives to rehabilitate the lives of IDPs.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the department has already provided livelihood equipment like sewing machines and clothing materials to some evacuees.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) also committed to donate 100 more sewing machines for the IDPs, Lopez noted.
For its medium-term plan, the agency already identified specific places in Iligan City that will be converted into temporary marketplaces, where evacuees can place their own stores.
DTI also plans to coordinate with the Labor department to conduct job fairs for IDPs.
The Chief Executive, for his part, assured the agencies that he will push for the proper realignment of the country’s budget to cater to the needs of each department in relation to the funding of their rehabilitation plans.
Prior to the said meeting, President Duterte witnessed the signing of the Deed of Donation (DOD) and turnover of check worth P5 million by Robinhood Padilla to the DSWD. The amount will be used for the immediate psychosocial intervention for children affected by the Marawi crisis.
The Commander-in-Chief also met with Senator Gringo Honasan and other members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). Joining Honasan were RAM officers Retired Capt. Felix Turingan, Resigned Capt. Glen Agudo, Retired Commo. Rex Robles, Retired Col. Marcelino Malajacan, Jr., Retired Col. Hernando Caraig, Retired Col. James Joven, Retired Police Director Victor Batac, and Engr. Jegie Pereda.
The President was accompanied by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Office of the President Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain, and Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes.
Earlier in the day, President Duterte met with the Board of Trustees of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and the ‘SAF 44’ families and their lawyers. ###PND