Arroyo meets with Duterte, commits to extend validity of Marawi rehab fund

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo committed to pass a joint resolution that would extend the validity of the P19.6-billion National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund for the rehabilitation of Marawi City until the end of 2019.

Arroyo made the commitment to President Rodrigo Duterte during their meeting at Malacañang on Tuesday, October 9.

Arroyo’s office sent reporters photos and details of the meeting on Wednesday, October 10. 

Also present during the meeting were House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap, and Arroyo consultant Medy Poblador.

Lawmakers recently raised P6.575 million to help the government's rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City, which is in ruins after months-long clashes between government troops and homegrown terrorists from the Maute Group and a faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group. (WATCH: Marawi in 360: Inside the War Zone)

Reconstruction efforts have since been hit by several delays, with the government disqualifying the Chinese-led Bangon Marawi Consortium, which turned out to have no financial capacity to undertake the massive project. (READ: Marawi rehab 'on track' despite search for new developer)

The United Nations Refugee Agency also reported that displaced residents have yet to fully benefit from the billions of pesos the government has allocated for their relief

Funds for military, police, Yolanda victims 

During the same meeting, Duterte also asked House leaders to allocate funds under the proposed P3.757-trillion 2019 budget for the housing projects for the military and the police.

According to Arroyo’s office, Duterte also wanted lawmakers to allocate funds in the 2019 budget for the water system in the housing project for Yolanda victims.

The Commission on Audit (COA), however, have raised red flags on the housing projects for uniformed personnel and Yolanda victims being implemented by the National Housing Authority. 

State auditors found anomalies in 28 housing projects worth some P10.62 billion under the housing program for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. 

COA also found several irregularities in 18 housing projects worth some P1.508 billion under the Yolanda Permanent Housing Program. 

House membes have approved the 2019 General Appropriations Act on second reading, but a small committee is still finalizing the amendments to the budget before the bill will be brought to the plenary for a 3rd and final reading. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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