By Genalyn Kabiling
The government has moved anew the groundbreaking of the development of war-ravaged Marawi City to October 17 to coincide with the first anniversary of the liberation of the city from lawless elements.
Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chair Eduardo del Rosario said they have chosen a local company that would undertake the debris management, the first component of the development of Marawi.
The P75-million contract for debris clearing of Marawi City was awarded to FINMAT Corporation under “negotiated procurement,” according to Del Rosario.
“Our people are now on the ground preparing for this. And since, October 17 is very significant, as the declared date of liberation of Marawi as declared by our President, we find it fitting that the groundbreaking will be on October 17,” Del Rosario said in a Palace press briefing.
“After the groundbreaking, FINMAT can undertake the debris clearing in the pilot area, which is about six hectares,” he added.
Del Rosario said they were still waiting for word if President Duterte could attend the groundbreaking of Marawi development next week. “I think the final word will be given by Monday. If the President could not make it on October 17, we are open to have it one week later,” he said.
The government previously moved the launch of the Marawi development from August to September amid plans to award the contract through joint venture agreement or negotiated procurement. The Marawi groundbreaking was initially set last July but was moved to August after negotiations with a China-led consortium broke down.
Under a new timeline, at least eight profit-generating project components such as the construction of a hospital and a convention center would reportedly be pursued through joint venture agreement with the potential developer. These projects will still go through Swiss challenge.
Negotiated procurement, on the other hand, would be applied for 14 non-profit ventures such as roads, schools, and barangay centers.
Del Rosario said they were still finalizing negotiations with other companies that would pursue other development aspects of Marawi.
“Immediately after the debris clearing, we will undertake the road networks construction with underground utilities,” he said.
“Once it is done, we will now proceed with the vertical structures – construct 320 classrooms, 24 barangay centers, convention center, the grand central market, school for living tradition, a four-story parking area and so forth,” he added.
In May 2017, Islamic State-linked Maute group and other rebels mounted an attack on Marawi, that left more than a hundred people dead and displaced thousands of families from their homes.
The conflict ended after a five-month intense battle between government troops and the rebels, leaving the city in ruins.
Duterte went to Marawi to declare its liberation from the clutches of terrorists after the military killed top two notorious terror suspects. A massive rehabilitation and recovery program has been put in place by the government to bring the Marawi community back on its feet.