DBM to release P5 billion for Marawi rehab in 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is ready to release P5 billion ($98.82 million) for the rehabilitation of Marawi City in 2017.

The budget department announced in a statement on Friday, July 14 that funds for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the city will be released following a multi-year scheme.

The DBM alloted at least P5 billion ($98.82 million)* for 2017 and P10 billion ($197.66 million) for 2018. The rehabilitation budget for 2019 is yet to be determined.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the ongoing conflict in Marawi City "will not significantly affect the perfomance of the Philippine economy." He said a supplemental budget is also not needed to rehabilitate the area. (READ: Does the Philippines have enough funds to deal with disasters?)

According to the DBM, the initial P5-billion ($98.82 million) budget for the rehabilitation will be sourced from the 2016 and 2017 National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Fund, and this year's contingency fund.

As of July 2017, the 2016 and 2017 NDRRM Fund has a combined balance of around P7.4 billion ($146.08 million), while the 2017 contingent fund has a balance of about P3.35 billion ($66.15 million).

Under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) or the national budget, a total of P15.7 billion ($310.03 million) has been allocated for the NDRRM Fund, a P23-billion ($454.11 million) decrease from the P38.9-billion ($767.97-million) allocation in 2016.

Back in March, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said only about P5.8 billion ($114.5 million) is left of the calamity fund which is not enough to cover the needs of areas recovering from disasters.

Bangon Marawi

On June 28, President Rodrigo Duterte created an inter-agency task force to take charge of the recovery of Marawi City, the ground zero of clashes between local terrorist groups and government forces. (READ: Marawi battle zone: Urban warfare challenges PH military)

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is set to create a "master plan" for the rehabilitation efforts. DPWH Secretary Mark Villar serves as the vice chairperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi.

Duterte earlier ordered that P20 billion ($394.84 million) be set aside for the rehabilitation program. (READ: What evacuees can expect from gov't when they return to Marawi)

Aside from the initial budget allotment for Task Force Bangon Marawi, the DBM said funds can also be sourced from the following agencies:

Last June, Australian and Chinese governments also extended assistance to the Philippines. 

According to the DBM, P25.5 billion ($503.55 million) has been allocated for the NDRRM Fund in the proposed 2018 national budget, P10 billion ($197.66 million) of which is for the Marawi rehabilitation program.

Twelve infrastructure projects under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has been allocated a total of P310 million ($6.12 million) in the proposed budget.

The proposed 2018 National Expenditure Program is set to be submitted by the budget department to Congress before the President delivers his second State of the Nation Address on July 24. – Aika Rey/Rappler.com

*$1 = P50.59