P90 billion needed for 'better Marawi,' mayor says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 24) — Creating a "better" Marawi City and not just rebuilding it may cost as much as P90 billion (US 1.0 billion), its mayor said Friday.

The revised figure is nearly double the P50 billion initially pledged by government, said Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra.

"Kung aayusin po natin ang Marawi City ay hindi po natin, hindi lang ho ibabalik natin sa dati (If we will fix Marawi, we will not just restore it). But of course, we will make it better than it was before," Gandamra said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday.

He said he has submitted this pitch for the government's master plan to rebuild Marawi.

"Kasama po 'yung (That includes), of course the restoration of economic operations of Marawi City. Because as a result of this siege, almost 100 percent po ay totally collapsed ang aming economic operation," the mayor said.

Since hostilities ended a month ago and the ISIS-inspired Maute Group has been driven out, more than 70,000 residents have returned to 19 barangays in Marawi, said Task Force Bangon Marawi.

The 70,000 were among the 300,000 who were displaced by the five-month war, which reduced houses and buildings to rubble.

Timeline: The Marawi crisis

Gandamra said discussions are underway on plans to preserve some of the city's ruins.

Related: Marawi officials wary of Robredo's pitch to preserve ruins

Several countries and international organizations have pledged to help rebuild Marawi.

These include China's pledge of 150 million yuan (over ₱1.15 billion) in grants to help rehabilitate Marawi and provide livelihood for displaced residents.

This was announced by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in an official visit in Malacañang after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits.

Related: PH allies pitch in for Marawi rehabilitation