After months of delay, Marawi groundbreaking set on October 17

Pia Ranada

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After months of delay, Marawi groundbreaking set on October 17


The groundbreaking signals the start of debris clearing operations in a 6-hectare 'pilot' area in Marawi's Ground Zero

MANILA, Philippines – Originally scheduled to take place in June, the groundbreaking for Marawi’s “most affected area” is scheduled to take place on October 17, the first year anniversary of the city’s liberation from terrorists.

“Since October 17 is very significant as the declared date of the liberation of Marawi…we find it fitting that the groundbreaking will be on October 17 also,” said Task Force Bangon Marawi chairperson Eduardo del Rosario said in a press briefing on Friday, October 12. (READ: TIMELINE: The ‘liberation’ of Marawi)

But the groundbreaking date will also depend on Duterte, who had yet to confirm his attendance to the October 17 ceremony. If he could not attend, the groundbreaking date may be moved again.

“If the President could not make it on October 17, we are open to have it one week later but we are now doubling our efforts in preparation for the groundbreaking activity,” said Del Rosario.

The groundbreaking was originally set for June but it was moved to July, then August, then September.

What does groundbreaking entail? The groundbreaking will mean the start of debris clearing for a “pilot” area of 6 hectares in Marawi City’s “most affected area” (MAA). (READ: Residents to gov’t planners: Build better Marawi for us)

The MAA is a 250-hectare “Ground Zero” composed of the 24 barangays that sustained the most damage from the 5-month siege. The area is also the city’s commercial hub. Marawi has a total of 96 barangays.

Philippine company FINMAT International Resources, Incorporated (FIRI) has been chosen to conduct the debris management as the first component of the Marawi Ground Zero rehabilitation scheme. 

The contract for the debris clearing of the pilot area is worth P75 million, said Del Rosario.

Contractors can only embark on construction of roads and buildings,  like school facilities and government buildings, once the debris clearing operations are completed.

“Immediately after the debris clearing, we will undertake the road networks construction with underground utilites. Once it is done, we will now proceed with the vertical structures,” said Del Rosario, who is also head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

There are 320 classrooms, 24 barangay centers, a convention center, central market, school for living tradition, and a 4-story parking area, among others, still to be built. 

Before the debris clearing in the pilot area, however, FINMAT will be screening the 6-hectare area for unexploded bombs.

Del Rosario, however, said that 80% of explosives have already been retrieved.

What’s the status of negotiations with PowerChina? The government is now conducting “negotiated procurement” with Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina) after the joint venture agreement mode was ruled out.

“The joint venture agreement (JVA) was not allowed because the project stipulated in the Marawi rehabilitation does not entail implementation or the procuring does not entail applying the JVA. We are now conducting negotiated procurement,” said Del Rosario.

PowerChina is the second group vying for the contract to rehabilitate the MAA. The first group, China-led Bangon Marawi Consortium, was disqualified after failing to prove its financial capacity to undertake the project.

PowerChina has partnered with FINMAT in a 75-25 sharing agreement but the government is still negotiating whether or not to award other components of the rehabilitation to the two entities.

The task force, however, said it is determined to complete the rehabilitation projects  by the 4th quarter of 2021, or the year before Duterte’s presidency ends. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.