By Yas Ocampo
DAVAO CITY – The Philippines has officially invited representatives from the People’s Republic of China to the pledging session slated in November to seek international support for the recovery and rehabilitation program for Marawi City, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III extended the invitation to China during a meeting between a Cabinet-level Philippine delegation and officials of China’s Ministry of Commerce as he expressed the Philippines’ “deep gratitude” for its swift response in providing assistance for the reconstruction efforts in Marawi.
“We acknowledge with deep gratitude that China was among the first countries to respond to our immediate requirements in our recovery and reconstruction efforts in Marawi City,” Dominguez said during the meeting with Chinese officials led by Commerce Minister Zhong Shan held last week.
Dominguez said the pledging session to be held in the latter part of November would “support the implementation of the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program.”
“Your government’s active support and participation would be highly appreciated,” he told Minister Zhong during the meeting.
Dominguez also thanked Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua for “responding quickly” to Manila’s request in July last year for assistance in Marawi’s recovery and rehabilitation.
As a result of Ambassador Zhao’s efforts, Dominguez said China was able to deliver by October 2017 several units of heavy equipment for Marawi, which immensely helped in preparing the temporary shelters for the city’s displaced residents.
Dominguez earlier said the Department of Finance (DOF) is currently planning the timing of the issuance of “patriotic” retail treasury bonds for the purpose of generating additional funds for Marawi’s reconstruction. He said the DOF was thinking of issuing the bonds in several tranches.
“We will issue it definitely in tranches because we should not borrow more than what we need for that year… We already have P10 billion already budgeted so we will go and get more details on how much is actually required and at what dates,” Dominguez has said.
The tenor of the bonds would depend on market conditions and the issuance might be P10 billion a year, with the government probably “ending up raising maybe P40 billion of the P62 billion” total rehabilitation cost, Dominguez said.
Dominguez floated last year the idea of issuing the bonds to help finance the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
He earlier ordered the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) to study the issuance of the debt securities. He said the bonds would appeal to citizens who would like to help rebuild the lives of their fellow Filipinos in the war-torn city.