Gatchalian visits civilians in Marawi, vows to push for rehab funds

FUNDING REHABILITATION. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian visits the Lanao Del Sur provincial capitol in Marawi City. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

FUNDING REHABILITATION. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian visits the Lanao Del Sur provincial capitol in Marawi City.

Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

MARAWI CITY, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalin on Sunday, October 1, visited the provincial Capitol of Lanao Del Sur in Marawi City to discuss with local officials and ground commanders the rehabilitation of the city destroyed by war. 

The chairman of the Senate committee on economics had a meeting with Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra and Western Mindanao Command chief Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr. 

They also shared a boodle fight meal at the capitol. 

He is the highest elected official to visit local officials in the war-torn city. Other elected officials didn't have interaction with civilians in Marawi because they primarily visited troops at the 103rd bridage headquarters and inside the main battle area. 

Gatchalian also visited evacuees in Saguiran, a town adjacent to Marawi that hosts a big number of residents displaced by war. 

P20-B initial funding

Gatchalian said he will push the Senate to allocate initial funding of up to P20 billion in the 2018 government budget. He said they're looking at moving funds from the calamity fund and other sources. 

"We will now jumpstart the process of allocating funds, analyzing what is needed for the rehabiliation," Gatchalian told reporters here. 

"We have to make sure that facilities will be built at yung buhay ng tao maibalik (and people are able are able to get back on their feet)," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte made 5 visits to the city but met only with troops at the brigade headquarters and inside the main battle area. He often came to mark significant successes in the battlefield.

Duterte previously blamed Marawi residents for the war, putting them to task for supposedly allowing the Maute Group to recruit in the city. He has since changed tune. (READ: Maranaos want dialogue with Duterte after his apology)

He later visited with evacuees in Iligan City and invited provincial officials to a meeting in Malacañang. 

Vice President Leni Robredo was also able to visit Marawi evacuees in Iligan City. 

Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao, a military reservist, also visited Marawi City but only stayed at the brigade headquarters.

The war flattened vast areas in the main battle area. Local officials are counting on the commitment of the national government to rehabilitate the city. (READ: Photos show Marawi ancestral home before and after clashes)

Gandamra is asking the national government not only to rebuild public structures but also help private homeowners to rebuild their homes. – Rappler.com