Government to issue P50-billion Marawi bonds

THE government is eyeing to issue some P50 billion in Marawi bonds by October this year in support of rehabilitation efforts for the Islamic city laid siege to by terrorists for five months in 2017, according to Task Force Bangon (Rise) Marawi Head Eduardo D. del Rosario.

According to del Rosario, who is also the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), the government is eyeing to float the Marawi bonds next month which is expected to raise around P50 billion to P60 billion, subject to market conditions.

“Our target is about P50 [billion] to P60 billion [for the Marawi bonds]. It depends on the National Treasury and the Department of Finance. They will determine how much will be needed. If in the first salvo, after the two-month marketing period, we have already achieved the desired result, then we’ll have that as our accomplishment for the issuance of the Marawi bonds,” del Rosario said during a news conference on Thursday at the Makati Diamond Residences.

He pointed out that the rehabilitation of the areas outside of ground zero would entail a budgetary requirement estimated to be at P47.2 billion, lower than the previous P51.65-billion estimate under the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (BMCRRP).

The timetable for the rehabilitation of the most affected areas in Marawi City was seen to take three years, while the reconstruction of areas outside ground zero would take until the end of President Duterte’s term or in June 2022.

“It will just take three years, so the rehabilitation for the most affected areas would be completed by December 2021. For the areas outside ground zero, this includes the physical and not physical interventions as well as the psychosocial interventions, it will be until the end of the President’s term in June of 2022,” he added.

He added that the total cost or rehabilitation for ground zero itself, or the most affected area, would be around P15 billion.

He explained that the groundbreaking for the reconstruction of the most affected areas in Marawi City, initially slated on September 19 this year, may commence either later this month or early-October, depending on the President’s schedule.

The BMCRRP outlines the projects, programs and activities which the government will implement from 2018 to 2022 to help rebuild the lives of displaced families and the reconstruction of the areas affected by the Marawi siege.

Del Rosario explained that apart from the issuance of Marawi bonds, the sources of funding for the rehabilitation of the city would also come from the General Appropriations Act (GAA), as well as foreign aid pledges.

“That [the Marawi bonds] will fill the shortfall of either the GAA or the foreign aid that has been committed but hasn’t arrived. But the estimate as of today is P50 billion in costs,” said Felixberto U. Bustos Jr., president of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC).

Sought for comment on the Marawi bond issuance in October, National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon said that the issuance of the security will be triggered “subject to approximations and market backdrop.”

The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) earlier said that the Marawi bond issue will take the form of retail Treasury bonds and will be made available online so that overseas Filipino workers can also participate in the exercise.

In May this year, the Philippine government with officials from Japan signed a ¥2-billion (about P472.47 million at current exchange rates) grant agreement to support ongoing efforts for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the war-torn capital of the province of Lanao del Sur.

That agreement was signed by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, on behalf of the Philippines, and Yoshio Wada, chief representative in the Philippines of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, on behalf of Japan.

Dominguez earlier said the Philippine government has, so far, identified 902 priority projects and activities for the rehabilitation and recovery of Marawi City and its surrounding areas with close to half of the funding to be drawn from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Project Fund.


Image Credits: Alysa Salen

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