Normalcy and vibrant economic activities have slowly but surely returned in Marawi City, which was devastated during the five-month battle against the Islamic State in 2017, the city’s chief executive said on Thursday.
Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said the city government has recorded an impressive 500-percent jump in revenue collection last year compared to 2015 collection, which, he said, was a clear manifestation that business is steadily and progressively improving in the country’s Islamic capital.
“A clear manifestation of stronger economy is the increase in our revenue collections for, I would say, 500 percent,” he said, adding “normalcy is back” and “business establishments have reopened.”
Gandamra said that from P6,596,901 total tax collections in 2016, or before the May 23, 2017 siege, the local government of Marawi City recorded P12,474,494.72 revenue collections for 2019.
In 2015, the city government only collected a total of P2,082,709.39.
“To date, our collection keeps going up,” Gandamra said.
The mayor lamented that stories out of the city are only focused on the “ground zero” when there are much improved economic activities outside or in the less affected area due to the continuing rehabilitation works by Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM).
The ground zero was where the 24 villages of Marawi City are located, which became the center of the battle between the government and the Islamic State during the siege in 2017.
Gandamra said that out of the 96 barangays in Marawi City, 72 have been reoccupied by residents and business establishments “have actually flourished and continued to sprout.”
The city chief executive expressed satisfaction over the efforts of TFBM headed by Human Settlements Secretary Eduardo del Rosario and the 56 government agencies directly providing support to rehabilitate Marawi City.
He noted that the TFBM, including the city government is currently focusing on rehabilitating the ground zero that will facilitate the return of residents with the construction of horizontal and public vertical infrastructures seen to start within the first semester of 2020. The project will be completed by December 2021.
Gandamra, through Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, has sought audience with President Duterte to further expedite the rehabilitation within the ground zero.
“No one will be left behind. While there are only 24 barangays in ground zero, it’s the central business district of Marawi City,” Gandamra said.