Groundbreaking for Marawi Ground Zero plan moved

Groundbreaking rites to mark the start of the reconstruction of Marawi’s Ground Zero has been moved to the first week of July as negotiations with the Chinese-Filipino consortium that will undertake the project are still ongoing, Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, Housing Secretary and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chair said.

The groundbreaking was initially targeted for June 7, later moved to June 16, June 21, last week of June and finally on the first week of July.

“Still ongoing but I was informed that negotiations will be over by tomorrow (Tuesday, June 5) and I still have to see the final nego results on Wednesday, the NHA (National Housing Authority) Board has to approve the final nego  agreement on Thursday so the Swiss Challenge will start on Friday,” del Rosario told MindaNews Monday evening.

On Tuesday evening, he said the Selection Committee and the Proponent will present the plan to him on Wednesday “for finalization” and the Swiss Challenge will start on Friday or Saturday, “depending on the outcome of the presentation on Wednesday.

On Wednesday evening, Del Rosario said negotiations are still ongoing but they have completed around 90%. He added, “negotiations will continue until Saturday” and they hope to start the Swiss Challenge “Monday or Tuesday” (June 11 or 12).

Asked what the remaining 10% are, he replied in a text message: “four minor items out of 22 projects/programs.”

What these 22 projects are, the TFBM has yet to announce.

But the cost for the Ground Zero plan, according to the chair of the inter-agency task force for the “recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi and other affected localities,”will not be beyond 20 billion pesos.”

The plan for the areas outside Ground Zero — the Bangon Marawi Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (BMCRRP) — will be presented to President Rodrigo Duterte for final approval during the Cabinet meeting on June 11, he said.

Asked why the negotiations with the proponent consortium for Ground Zero took so long, Del Rosario replied it was due to “quality and price issues.”

In earlier pronouncements, May 31 was supposed to be the the target for awarding of the contract.

“Two-pronged approach”

The proponent firm, Bagong Marawi Consortium (BMC) for Ground Zero is composed of five Chinese and four Filipino firms.

Comprising 250 hectares spread across 24 barangays (Marawi has 96),  Ground Zero was the main battle area between government forces and the IS-inspired Maute Group and its allies during the five months — May 23 to October 23, 2017 — when Marawi was under siege. It is now referred to as the MAA or most affected area.

The rehabilitation and recovery of Marawi and affected municipalities in Lanao del Sur will take a two-pronged approach — for Ground Zero and outside Ground Zero, Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro of the NEDA’s Regional Development Office told the Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum at the Provincial Gym in Marawi City on March 20. (MINDANEWS)