CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A Maranao leader cried foul over the proposal of the government to sell retail treasury bonds (RTBs) to the public as strategy to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the war-torn Marawi City.
Moro Consensus Group (MCG) chairman Drieza Lininding said P40 billion of the P62 billion estimated budgetary requirement for the recovery efforts by the Department of Finance (DOF) will be offered in the market as RTBs.
RTB is defined as fixed-income instrument issued by the government through the Bureau of the Treasury that is available to retail investors.
According to the treasury bureau’s website, RTBs are affordable, convenient, low-risk, higher yielding than time deposit rates, short-term investment.
In a news report, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has said they are considering on issuing bonds for the government to earn money so it can raise more funds for Marawi.
Already, about P10 billion was earmarked in this year’s General Appropriations Act (GAA), but Dominguez said it needs to prop up the funding requirement for the rehabilitation efforts of Marawi.
Lininding said this plan was an affront to the Maranaos whose houses and properties were destroyed when state forces engaged a months-long battle with armed extremists in Marawi last year.
“Where would the Government get the interest rates? Are we up for sale, is our miseries an opportunity for some as an investment?” Lininding said.
He said if the government were really sincere in ensuring the swift recovery of Marawi, the total budget for the rehabilitation must be included in GAA next year and in the succeeding years.
At present, he added, the national government was pouring its resources on relief, information and communications and other services but very little amount was actually spent on restoring Marawi.
Lininding said it seems that the Duterte administration’s priority was on building military camps and mass housing for police and military personnel.
He has also noted the presence of two Army engineering brigades in Marawi. “[Who is] really going to build [the most affected area or MAA]? Private contractors or the Army Engineering?”
“Are they also planning to build a wall inside MAA so that we can never return?” he said.
Lininding has also frowned on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for allegedly bloating the number of Marawi evacuees.
He said the DSWD claimed there were 64,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and they have catered to about 47,000 evacuees based on the number of “Kambalingan” kits the agency distributed.
“Even if you add those living in the temporary shelters you will never reach that 64,000 claim. What’s the purpose? To make it appear that you’re doing a great job when in reality you can only afford to serve less than 10 percent of the still displaced families?” he added.
“We demand transparency and accountability from the national government! What happen (sic) to the loans from Japan and China? And please publish the TOR or agreement if there’s any so we can be sure that our home, our city will not be used as collateral!” Lininding said. (davaotoday.com)