Undersecretary Ricardo David Jr. of the Department of National Defense speaks on the DND role as it tries to contribute and double its efforts to rebuild Marawi City during the Kartilya forum on emerging issues and opportunities in Mindanao last August at the DAP Building in Pasig City.

Undersecretary Ricardo David Jr. of the Department of National Defense (DND) cited the department’s efforts to rebuild Marawi after the five-month-long armed conflict that transpired in the city during the Kartilya Forum on “Emerging Issues and Opportunities in Mindanao” sponsored by the Development Academy of the Philippines last August at the DAP Building in Pasig City.

“Rebuilding Marawi from the ashes of the conflict is an enormous challenge that leads the joint efforts of the various national and local government agencies and units,” David said.

The DND undersecretary discussed Administrative Order No. 3 that created the joint task force called “Bangon Marawi,” an inter-agency group formed for recovery reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi City.  It was later amended by Administrative Order No. 9 where the chair of the Housing Urban Development Council was designated as the Bangon Marawi chairperson and the Secretary of National Defense became the chairperson and co-chair of the Sub-Committee on Security, Peace and Order.

David further explained that the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) is the DND bureau that is heavily involved in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi City, while the Armed Forces of the Philippines serves a vital support role through its engineering brigades and in ensuring security as well as peace and order in the area.

“The OCD’s biggest contribution today is the conduct of the post-conflict need assessment (PCNA) for Marawi and other affected municipalities,” said David, stressing that as early as July 2017, the preparation for the conduct of the PCNA has already been under way.

The DND undersecretary also explained that another procedure, the rapid damage needs assessment (RDNA), would focus on profiling the internally-displaced persons as well as capturing their immediate needs while the conflict was still going on.  He further explained that the RDNA helped in identifying issues regarding basic needs such as food, water and sanitation, which made the government intensify its efforts and ensured that relief efforts reached even the farthest communities.

On the other hand, he clarified that the human resource needs assessment (HRNA) serves as the basis for the continuous provision of relief goods and potable water and the reconstruction of the temporary learning centers.

David also mentioned that the damage and loss assessment for the affected municipalities of Butig and Piagapo, which was conducted last October 6-13, revealed that the housing, power and water sectors of Marawi City suffered the most due to loss of sustaining services and the fact that establishments were looted and cultural landmarks were vandalized.

“Marawi incurred a total of P11.5 billion worth of damages and P6.7 billion worth of losses, and an estimated P51.6 billion is needed for the reconstruction and recovery of the city,” said David as he discussed the results of the PCNA that show the challenges being faced by Task Force Bangon Marawi as it sets to do its mission of rebuilding Marawi City.

“Perhaps one of the biggest challenges faced by the government right now is the threat of violent extremism in the region because of the people disenchanted by the government’s action on the perceived social injustice and the people affected by the conflict can easily be influenced by extremist groups and individuals exposing extremism and open foreign ideologies,” David declared.

He admitted that the DND feels the need for people in the world to see that the Filipinos are united in resisting the influence of foreign extremist ideology and that they think it only brings harm to their communities and also destroys the communities as they are rebuilt over the years.  “Peace has a chance only if we work together to build mutual understanding,” the DND undersecretary stressed.

“We at the Department of National Defense firmly believe [that] this will usher the new era of peace and progress in Mindanao,” David said as he assured that the DND is ready to assist the Filipinos in the Bangsamoro to start anew, heal the wounds of conflict and end the people’s divisiveness after decades of fighting.

In closing, David concluded that the DND will provide sufficient level of security to civilians to enable economic activity to recover and also assist in strengthening government capacity to carry out and promote national reconciliation. – Jeannalla Burns