US, 3 other nations pledge aid for Marawi

THE United States (US) and three other nations have committed to grant assistance to the Philippine government for the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City.

Kristoffer James Purisima, deputy administrator for administration of the Office of Civil Defense, said the recently-concluded 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit had opened doors for more foreign pledges for the rehabilitation of Marawi.

"With the conclusion of the Philippines' chairmanship and hosting of the 31st Asean Summit and Related Meetings, various world leaders have committed to assist in the rehabilitation, reconstruction, and recovery of Marawi City and other affected areas," Purisima said in a press conference.

Purisima said the US had vowed to provide $14.3 million to address humanitarian concerns while China had pledged an additional P1.15 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi.

Japan had promised to give ¥1.5 million (roughly P700,000) for the maritime safety and reconstruction of Marawi. Japan also committed to donate rice to the affected individuals.

Purisima said the Philippine government also received relief supplies worth AUD 1.5 million from Australia.

He, however, noted that foreign pledges would still be subject to proper accounting by Task Force Marawi, in line with President Rodrigo Duterte's directive not to accept grants with "conditionalities."

On October 27, Purisima announced that the European Union pledged assistance to the Philippines but Duterte ordered his administration to no longer accept grants from the European bloc to avoid interference in the country's domestic policies.

Purisima said that Duterte's directive was not only for EU but also for other donations from other foreign nations.

"There's a standing directive on the part of the task force that they should be cleared first with the task force. The task force is the accountable agency, the accountable organization and we want to make sure that we know everything that comes so it will be properly accounted," Purisima said.

"Let us be clear that the task force is aware of the policy pronouncements of our President and we will follow those policy pronouncements," he added.

The 31st Asean two-day conference was held on November 13 to 14 in Manila, where different world leaders participated.

Prior to the Southeast Asian bloc's summit, the Philippines, which hosted the international event, has attended to matters concerning security issues following the siege perpetrated by Maute terrorists in Marawi City.

The Philippine government was able to squash the plan of the Maute group to establish caliphate for IS group in Southeast Asia after the state troops were able to kill terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute during October 16 dawn raid. (SunStar Philippines)
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