MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go attended a private meeting in Malacañan Palace on Wednesday evening, March 4, on the status of the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (BMCRRP).
The meeting was arranged after representatives of Marawi City residents asked Go to relay their concerns to President Rodrigo Duterte at the public hearing that the Senate Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation conducted on February 21 in Iligan City.
“Hindi istilo ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na mag-iwan ng proyektong nakatiwangwang. Hindi kami papayag ng Pangulo na mangyari ito… Ako, bilang malapit sa Pangulo, kaya po ako narito, gusto ko po na maging tulay kami ninyo kay Pangulo. Kung may reklamo kayo, may gusto pa kayong iparating sa Pangulo, iparating ninyo na po kaagad ngayon,” Go said.
The meeting held in Malacañan yesterday is a fulfillment of Go’s promise that he will set a meeting between President Duterte and the stakeholders and relevant government agencies in order for the President to directly hear the various concerns of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“Ipaparating ko kaagad sa ating mahal na Pangulo kung umusad na ba ang Bangon Marawi project,” Go said during his last visit to Marawi.
After hearing the concerns himself during the meeting last night, the President designated Marawi City rehabilitation czar Eduardo del Rosario as point person who will handle funds and work directly with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to speed up reconstruction efforts. Duterte also instructed the DBM to expedite the release of funds for the rehabilitation process.
President Duterte emphasized deadlines and the importance of minimizing delays. He also said that he will personally contribute to the reconstruction of the Grand Marawi Mosque and will visit Marawi City soon.
Another issue that was raised at the meeting is the desire of the IDPs to return to their homes and leave the temporary shelters.
“Gusto nilang marinig ang assurance ng ating Pangulo kasi hindi sila nakakabalik sa kanilang tirahan at wala silang ibang pinapaniwalaan kundi ang salita niyo po na makakabalik sila sa kanilang lupa at mga bahay,” Go informed the President.
In response, the President assured the residents of the most affected area that they can visit their houses but military installations will remain to ensure the safety of the area.
“What happened to Marawi was a tragedy to this nation and so, in the aftermath, we will do everything to correct the so many wrongs and injustices committed against the Moros, not only in Marawi and Lanao but everywhere in Mindanao,” the President also said.
Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Imee Marcos and Francis Tolentino, who are Go’s colleagues in the Senate Special Committee, also attended the meeting at the Heroes Hall in Malacañan.
At the public hearing in Iligan City last February 21, Go has said, “Narito ngayon ang Special Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation ng Senado upang dinggin ang mga nagawa, mga hindi nagawa at mga dapat gawin, hindi lang upang makabangon ang Marawi, kundi para makabuo ng panibagong Marawi–isang Marawi na maunlad, mapayapa, at malaya sa mga elementong naging sanhi ng pagkawasak nito, tulad ng droga at terorismo.”
Go earlier went to Marawi City, Lanao del Sur on the same day prior to the public hearing to conduct an ocular inspection of the rehabilitation efforts of the government in the area. After the ocular, he also witnessed the opening of the 64th Malasakit Center in the country in Amai Pakpak Medical Center.
“Magtulungan po tayo. Bilang isang Mindanaoan, ako mismo ay gagawin ang lahat ng maaari kong maiambag, lalo na sa mga bagay na may kinalaman sa kalusugan,” Go said, adding that a new Malasakit Center was launched in the city already to provide quick, quality and reliable medical services to Filipinos.
He emphasized further that the Duterte Administration does not want to see unfinished projects in the rehabilitation nor see people blaming each other for shortcomings.
“Wala namang sapat na rason upang hindi makabangon ang Marawi dahil may mga nakalaang pondo at may mga donasyon. Suportado rin ng Pangulo ang bawat aksyon na may kinalaman sa rehabilitasyon,” Go explained.
The Senator added that it has already been more than two years since the Marawi siege ended in October 2017. Go and, most especially, President Rodrigo Duterte are now looking for concrete outputs that should be fruits of the assistance given by the government and donations from the international community to build a new and better Marawi City for its people.
“The President has two years left in Malacañan. We want to know how the rehabilitation can be completed. We don’t want the responsible officials to be negligent now and then put the blame on the President later on when his term ends,” Go stressed.
Meanwhile, Go and other Senators have filed a bill entitled “Marawi Siege Compensation Act of 2020,” which seeks to provide tax-free compensations for all property owners whose properties were damaged by the Marawi Siege in 2017.