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Swiss challenge for Marawi rehab may start next week

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A general view of bombed-out buildings and homes are seen in what was the main battle area in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on October 25, 2017, days after the military declared the fighting against IS-inspired Muslim militants over. — AFP

THE Swiss challenge for proposals on the rehabilitation of Marawi City will start on Tuesday should negotiations with a consortium be successful, the concerned government inter-agency task force group announced on Friday.

Eduardo D. del Rosario, chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), said in a press briefing at the Palace on Friday that the Swiss challenge period for Marawi rehabilitation proposals will begin on Tuesday next week.

“As of today, nasa finishing touches na ‘yung negotiation with the Bangon Marawi Consortium (BCM). And if there will be a successful negotiation that would be declared by Monday, then on Tuesday the Swiss challenge will start,” Mr. del Rosario said.

The official added the groundbreaking ceremony will take place by “first week of July.”

Asked why the agency keeps changing the schedule, Mr. del Rosario explained: “We do not like to rush things. Otherwise hindi natin makikita ng maganda yung specifications at quality na gagawin na mga infrastructures. Madugo ang aming ginagawang negotiations, we do not want na ma-compromise ang quality as well as the cost.”

Asked whether the said schedule is already final, Mr. del Rosario said it is “90-95% final for now.”

“Everything is fluid. We are working on a timetable. Maybe July 5-6 (for the groundbreaking) is [also] 90-95% accurate.”

The rehabilitation plan, according to Mr. del Rosario, will be presented to President Rodrigo R. Duterte at the next Cabinet meeting.

For his part, Col. Antonio Z. Francisco, Jr. of the Civil Relations Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported the amount of “P38.8 million for surveying of Camp Ranao and the P51.3 million intended for purchase of land area for a military camp have been approved.”

On the opening of classes in Marawi City, HUDCC Secretary Falconi V. Millar said over 14,000 students are currently enrolled in more than 30 primary and secondary public schools for the School Year2018-2019.

“There are 47 schools outside the most affected area (MAA), but some schools that are too close to each other were merged by the Department of Education DepEd) instead in order to maximize the resources and manpower,” he said. — Arjay L. Balinbin