August 10, 2017 / 8:24 AM / 10 months ago

Philippines eyes sale of domestic bonds to help rebuild Marawi

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines might raise 30 billion pesos ($591.7 million) by selling 20-year bonds in the domestic market to fund the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the besieged southern city of Marawi, the finance department said on Thursday.

Filipino soldiers rides on a vehicle as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group in Marawi city, Philippines July 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

An end to the fighting in Marawi, which has entered a 12th week, is not in sight as pro-Islamic State militants remain entrenched in the commercial district despite weeks of military air strikes and shelling.

“These are what you would call ‘patriotic’ bonds to help augment the funds that the government has set aside for Marawi’s rehabilitation,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a statement.

Dominguez said the government is looking at bonds with a 20-year tenor.

The government has yet to estimate the cost from damage to infrastructure plus economic losses in the standoff, which has been the biggest challenge of President Rodrigo Duterte since his six-year term began in mid-2016.

Duterte has initially set aside 20 billion pesos, to be partly sourced from the government’s disaster fund, to finance the rebuilding of the city of more than 200,000 people. Officials in Marawi said about 20 percent of the city has been destroyed.

Nearly 700 people, including 120 soldiers, have been killed since the militants, aided by foreign fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East, seized control of Marawi City on May 23.

Duterte has extended martial law on the southern island of Mindanao until the end of the year, to give him time to crush a rebel movement inspired by the Islamic State group.

Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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