By Hader Glang
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines
The World Bank on Tuesday committed to help rebuild war-torn Marawi city as aid from foreign governments poured in for its reconstruction and rehabilitation.
World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva along with Mara Warwick, country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, confirmed the bank’s commitment during a meeting Tuesday with Finance, Foreign Affairs and Socioeconomic Planning Secretaries Carlos Dominguez, Peter Cayetano and Ernesto Pernia.
“We can only express our sympathy for what has been going on in Marawi. As an institution that has committed to peaceful development and dealing with conflict situations, we would be honored in helping in terms of rebuilding and engaging in any possible way what we can do in this situation,” the Manila Bulletin quoted Georgieva as saying.
The Philippine government estimates the overall rehabilitation of Marawi -- including restoration of infrastructure, assistance for basic services, livelihood and shelter for nearly 400,000 residents - will cost up to PHP150 billion ($2.9 billion).
Dominguez said the World Bank has confirmed its commitment to work with the Philippine government in helping Marawi rise from devastation along with scaling up support for peace-building efforts in Mindanao.
He said Georgieva welcomed a plan to tap domestic resources to raise funds for Marawi’s reconstruction. He thanked the World Bank for its generous assistance to the Philippines through the years and welcomed its offer of aid for Marawi.
The finance secretary emphasized the need for the bank’s technical advice and expertise in reconstructing the entire city as the Philippines has very limited experience in handling a rehabilitation program of this magnitude.
He informed Georgieva that with the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte, the government has opted to raise funds domestically for Marawi’s recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction program by, among other things, issuing bonds.
Cayetano said several countries have already provided assistance and committed to help Marawi, but a clear direction and detailed rehabilitation plan are needed to organize such efforts.
Early Monday, two surviving key leaders of the Marawi siege -- Abu Sayyaf head Isnilon Hapilon and Maute group leader Omar Khayyam Maute -- were killed in a gunfight.
On Tuesday, Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi from Daesh-linked terrorists, saying it marked the beginning of the city's rehabilitation.