Rebuilding Marawi's ground zero delayed by failure of China-led consortium

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 12) — Reconstruction in the ravaged areas of war-torn Marawi has been delayed because of failed talks with the China-led consortium initially selected by the government to undertake the project.

In a media briefing Thursday, Task Force Bangon Marawi said the Bagong Marawi Consortium failed to comply with technical, financial and legal requirements after it was chosen to come up with a plan to rebuild 250 hectares of Marawi's ground zero.

"We required them to comply with the equity requirement or to show proof of set aside deposits which they failed to comply," Task Force Bangon Marawi Secretary General Falconi Millar said, adding the consortium even submitted documents without English translations

"We had a hard time reviewing these documents which are submitted in Chinese," he said.

With the delay, the government now expects groundbreaking efforts to happen in the third or fourth week of August. The initial target for reconstruction was this month.

Task Force Bangon Marawi Chairperson and Housing Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario said the government can still rebuild Marawi's ground zero by 2021.

"This will not affect basically our target date of completion which is the last quarter of 2021," he said.

The selection committee, which acts as the task force's bids and awards committee, is now negotiating with Beijing-based Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina). PowerChina is working on its proposal which the task force is optimistic will be granted the "original proponent status."

"When we negotiate, we plan for a successful negotiation," Del Rosario said.

If this happens, PowerChina's proposal will be subjected to a Swiss challenge where other companies can bid to implement the project at a more competitive cost.

PowerChina will also have to partner with a Filipino firm as the selection committee requires it to be 75 percent Filipino-owned.

With PowerChina, Del Rosario said they are looking at an indicative project cost of not more than P16 billion to rebuild Marawi's ground zero. 

But what happens if negotiations with PowerChina fail? Millar said among the options is for the National Housing Authority to invoke Executive Order 49 which allows it to take on the task of crafting the guidelines for a faster implementation of joint venture projects for Marawi's rehabilitation.

The government is rehabilitating Marawi after the five-month war between government forces and pro-ISIS extremists from May to October last year.