February 25, 2018, 7:23 am
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PH mulls P30B Marawi bonds

The Philippines might raise P30 billion  by selling 20-year bonds in the domestic market to fund the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the besieged Marawi City. 

Carlos Dominguez III, finance secretary, has directed the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) to study the possible issuance of P30 billion-worth of debt securities.

Dominguez said the debt instruments, dubbed as “Marawi bonds” would appeal to the patriotic sense of duty of citizens who would like to help rebuild the lives of their fellow Filipinos in Marawi.

“These are what you would call ‘patriotic’ bonds to help augment the funds that the government has set aside for Marawi’s rehabilitation,” Dominguez said at a recent DOF executive committee (Execom) meeting.

Dominguez asked National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon at the Execom meeting to study the tenor or length of maturity of the bond, which could possibly be for 20 years.

In a separate statement, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the government will release at least P15 billion to rehabilitate Marawi in the next two years. 

The allocations would form part of the proposed budget of the Marawi reconstruction masterplan spearheaded by the  Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“The initial fund of P5 billion for 2017 will be sourced from the 2016 and 2017 NDRRM (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) fund with a combined remaining balance of around P7.4 billion, and the 2017 contingent fund with a balance of almost P3.35 billion, both as of July 2017,” Diokno said.

For the NDRRM fund for 2018, P25.5 billion has been allocated, of which P10 billion had been allotted for the Marawi recovery and rehabilitation program, according to Diokno.

An end to the fighting in Marawi, which has entered a 12th week, is not in sight as pro-Islamic State militants remain entrenched in the commercial district despite weeks of military air strikes and shelling.

The government has yet to estimate the cost from damage to infrastructure plus economic losses in the standoff.

Duterte has initially set asideP 20 billion to be partly sourced from the government’s disaster fund, to finance the rebuilding of the city of more than 200,000 people. Officials in Marawi said about 20 percent of the city has been destroyed.

Nearly 700 people, including 120 soldiers, have been killed since the militants, aided by foreign fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East, seized control of Marawi City on May 23.

Duterte has extended martial law on the southern island of Mindanao until the end of the year, to give him time to crush a rebel movement inspired by the Islamic State group. – (with Reuters )
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