October 18, 2017 / 3:19 AM / 8 months ago

Philippines expects January launch for bond to rebuild war-torn city

MANILA (Reuters) - A planned domestic bond issue by the Philippine government to fund rebuilding of the conflict-torn southern city of Marawi will likely be launched in January, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Wednesday.

A Philippine flag is seen at destroyed houses in Bangolo town at Marawi city, southern Philippines October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

The government is looking to raise as much as 30 billion pesos ($584 million) by selling 20-year bonds in the domestic market.

Asked by reporters about financing the city’s reconstruction, Dioko replied “As far as Marawi bond is concerned, it’s a go... in early January.”

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday declared Marawi liberated from pro-Islamic State militants, after a 148-day battle with government security forces.

More than 1,000 people, mostly rebels, have been killed in the battle, which is continuing. The heart of the city of 200,000 people has been decimated by near-daily air strikes by planes and helicopters.

Proceeds from the so-called “patriotic bonds” will help augment funds that the government has set aside for Marawi, such as 5 billion pesos from this year’s budget and 10 billion pesos next year, Diokno said.

Duterte has said it will cost more than 50 billion pesos to rebuild the city.

The defence minister said rehabilitation could realistically start in January, as structures were unstable and parts of the city were still littered with unexploded munitions and home-made bombs.

The World Bank on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to work with the Philippine government in helping Marawi rise from devastation, along with scaling up support for peace-building efforts in the southern region.

The bank said it could provide technical aid and other forms of assistance to the Philippines to help rebuild Marawi, though it did not mention any figure.

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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