Jerome Succor Aba, chairperson of S​uara Bangsamoro (Photo by Bags Castillo/Kilab Multimedia)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A Moro leader warned that the more than P2-billion foreign aid pledged by various countries for the rehabilitation and to assist those affected by the fighting in Marawi City comes with a price.

Jerome Aba, chairperson of Suara Bangsamoro, said “based on experience” foreign aid have strings attached.

“Foreign countries will always have interest in giving out assistance as in the case of the US government,” Aba said

He said resources in Lanao del Sur province “lure in interest of foreign businesses.”

Aba cited the oil reserve in Lanao Lake which is a “strategic mineral” for the people of Mindanao.

“They also want the expansion of plantations in the province in Lanao Del Norte. So those aid really have strings attached,” Aba said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday said various countries have pledged assistance to rebuild Marawi.

Marawi Foreign Assistance Count (

In a press briefing, Lorenzana said Australia has announced to give P1 billion; US, P730-million; Japan, P100 million; Thailand, P100 million, European Union, P49 million and China, P85 million, which includes P70 million for the wounded and P15 million for rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, former Bangsamoro Transition Commission member Samira Tomawis said they always ask how much of the budget for the donor program will actually be allotted for the actual program and how much of the portion will go to “foreign consultants.”

​Also citing previous experience with donor-funded programs, ​Tomawis said​ US consultants ​”​are costly​” and hoped
Bangsamoro professionals will be tapped instead ​of outsiders.

She said the government should also be wary of the “conditions” that foreign donors would want in exchange of their assistance.

“It should always be about the interest of the Filipinos,” she told Davao Today in a phone interview.

In his speech on June 28 in Pampanga, President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed the country’s international partners in rebuilding Marawi City.

“This invitation extends to our allies who share with the principles of goodwill and non-interference in our domestic affairs. Though the unrelenting efforts of the brave men and women of the AFP and PNP, and the assistance of our friends and allies, I am confident that we can end this dark episode and move on to restoring peace and order throughout Mindanao,” he said.

Aba said the government may provide for the rehabilitation in Marawi City by stopping Martial Law, saving money spent for military operation.

“The government may use the budget instead to provide for social services needed by the displaced residents,” he said. (

  • Wolfgang

    That’s far from being even remotely possible. The United States has no need, want or interest whatsoever to any mineral deposits, business or partnership of any kind in any Philippine provinces. This leader is misinformed. Also the United States has the world’s largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world in Texas,Lousiana,Alaska and Florida and these resources won’t ever run out in our lifetime either. American interest in the Philippines is based solely on Finding wives, supporting the poor and making loans to those Filipino people with great ideas for business. Americans at one time already had Mindanao after ridding it of the inslaving Spanish ultimately and gave it over to Manilla after running out the Japanese invaders also. Clearly believe if they had thought Mindanao to be worth anything at all they would have kept it, but they chose to keep the Solomons, Mariano’s, Gilbert’s, Midway and Guam Islands respectively.

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