By Ali G. Macabalang
Marawi City — The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has pledged at least P1 billion for construction of a 45-kilometer thoroughfare that will make this war-ravaged city more accessible and progressive after five months of intense fighting between government forces and ISIS – inspired militants.
Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain said JICA pledged P1 billion for the P2.5 billion road project.
“The P1 billion, according to them (JICA officials), may just be the start, there might be a continuing tranche also in the succeeding years,” Sadain said in a statement furnished to the Manila Bulletin.
He said JICA and the Asian Development Bank have earlie assured that it will help rehabilitate the portions of the city outside the main battle zone.
“We saw the need for development plans, not only addressing the post-conflict needs assessment on infrastructure requirements (in war-torn villages), but also the (priorities) in barangays outside ground zero,” he said.
This city has 96 barangays.
Sadain said the Japanese government was also ready to provide 27 sets of equipment for rehabilitation of this city, alongside 36 vehicles committed by Mitsubishi.
The launching of rehabilitation and reconstruction works in this city has been moved from April to May for concerned officials to have ample time in reviewing proposals submitted by developers, according to Task Force Bangon Marawi spokesperson Toby Purisima.
Evaluation results on the proposals of six developers were to be submitted this week to the Bangon Marawi Selection Committee, which will select one developer, Purisima said.
After the selection of the original proponent, this would be subject to a Swiss challenge, which could mean that other developers not originally selected have a chance of bagging the project, he said.
“We want to assure everyone that we will do this (process) as fast as we can. But we will do it in the right manner and following the right procedures,” he said.
This city was devastated by five months of fighting between government forces and ISIS supporters, which prompted President Duterte to place Mindanao under martial law.