WASHINGTON DC. In a high level meeting with Philippine officials led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III in Washington , World Bank chief executive officer Kristalina Georgieva confirmed the institution’s commitment to work with the Philippine government to help conflict-torn Marawi City rise from devastation, and scale-up up support for other peace-building efforts in Mindanao.
Georgieva said the World Bank, with its capability and expertise in rebuilding conflict-hit areas, can provide technical aid and other forms of assistance to the Philippines to help rebuild Marawi City.
She also welcomed Dominguez’s plan to tap domestic resources to raise funds for Marawi’s reconstruction, which she said, was “the right thing to do” and underscored the importance of “inclusive development” as a key aspect of the rehabilitation strategy for the city. “We can only express all of our sympathy for what has been going on in Marawi,” said Georgieva during the meeting held at the World Bank Office here.
“As an institution that has committed to peaceful development and dealing with conflict situations, we would be honored in helping in terms of [re]building and engaging in any possible way what we can do in this situation.” Besides Dominguez, also at the meeting were Secretaries Alan Peter Cayetano of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). Mara Warwick, the World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, was also at the meeting.
On behalf of the Philippines, Dominguez thanked the World Bank “for its generous assistance to the Philippines through the years” and welcomed its offer of aid for Marawi City. He emphasized the need for World Bank’s technical advice and expertise in reconstructing the entire city of Marawi as the Philippines has very limited experience in handling a rehabilitation program of this magnitude. “(The rehabilitation of Marawi) is a complicated situation,” said Dominguez, noting as an example the issue involving land titling for its returning residents, many of whom are informal settlers living in multi-storey structures. “The World Bank has the experience in reconstruction. We want to rebuild the entire city and keep a part of it as a memorial,” Dominguez said.
Secretary Dominguez informed Georgieva that with the approval of President Duterte, the government has opted to raise funds “domestically” for Marawi’s recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction program by, among others, issuing bonds. “I would like to introduce the concept that the rest of the country is involved in Marawi, that we have to contribute ourselves to the reconstruction and we are going with the bond issue,” said Dominguez. Georgieva said that the Philippine government and the World Bank “need to work together” even as she cited the strength and resilience of Filipinos in dealing with conflict and tragedies.
In a statement issued last Aug. 31, the World Bank said it will “scale up support for peace-building and development in Mindanao as part of the midterm adjustment of its country partnership strategy.” “This scaled-up program for the entire Mindanao will focus on supporting the government’s program to raise agricultural productivity and improve connectivity from farm to market; boost education, skills, and employability of the youth; and help build resilient communities,” its statement said. Cayetano mentioned that several countries have already provided assistance and committed to help Marawi, but a clear direction and detailed rehabilitation plan is needed to organize such efforts. ( with reports from DOF) Photo: Presidential file photo