Lawmaker wants Marawi rehabilitation commission

Bea Cupin
Lawmaker wants Marawi rehabilitation commission
PBA Representative and Acting Sulu 1st District Representative Jericho Nograles also wants martial law to remain in place 'even after the last remnants of the Maute militants have been flushed out'

MANILA, Philippines – A party-list representative who is also acting congressman of the 1st District of Sulu on Tuesday, October 17, called for the creation of a “non-partisan and non-sectarian” commission that would be in charge of Marawi City’s rehabilitation.

Jericho Nograles, who represents Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta in the House of Representatives, also wants martial law to remain in effect “even after the last remnants of the Maute militants have been flushed out to ensure the swift and uninterrupted reconstruction effort in Marawi City.”

Nograles is the son of former House Speaker Prospero Nograles, political foe-turned-ally of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) earlier confirmed the death of Abu Sayyaf subleader Isnilon Hapilon and Maute Group leader Omar Maute, top leaders of the Marawi siege, during clashes with troops past midnight on Monday, October 16.

On Tuesday, Duterte declared the “liberation” of Marawi City.

Clashes began in late May, after military and police tried to arrest Hapilon, who was in a house inside Marawi City. Top military and government officials were surprised to find that the local terror groups had reinforcements in the city itself.

Hundreds of thousands of people have since fled Marawi City, which is now left in ruins after months of clashes between government troops and terrorists. The death toll has breached 1,000.

Nograles said the government should create “a single but well-organized government body, fully backed by the [AFP]” to manage rehabilitation funds.

“I think that we should learn from our Yolanda experience. There were too many cooks that spoiled the broth,” he said, referring to the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Eastern Visayas back in 2013.

In Yolanda’s aftermath, the Aquino administration tasked now senator Panfilo Lacson to oversee rehabilitation plans, by appointing him Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery.

But the powers given to Lacson turned out to be lacking.

Although he oversaw rehabilitation efforts, he did not have the legal power over billions of pesos in funds intended for Yolanda rehabilitation. To this day, typhoon survivors are left wanting.

Nograles said government should ensure that efforts to rebuild Marawi City would be “responsive to the needs of its people.”

“We should rebuild Marawi to make it a better place for those who have undergone so much pain. As one people, we have a moral responsibility to help heal the wounds of war,” he added.

Duterte earlier created Task Force Bangon Marawi, which is headed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.