By Genalyn Kabiling
The two Chinese companies previously banned by the World Bank (WB) may participate in the planned massive development of Marawi City since the blacklist is “not active anymore,” according to Task Force Bangon Marawi chair Eduardo del Rosario.
Del Rosario said the two companies — China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and China Geo Engineering Corporation (CGC) — are “legitimate” and have been allowed anew to undertake projects by the WB.
The sanctions imposed on the two firms over rigging allegations of certain projects in the country in 2009 have been lifted by the World Bank in 2014, said Del Rosario, also head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
“Even World Bank provided projects or gave projects to Chinese Construction way back in 2016 so meaning to say, the blacklisting is not active anymore,” Del Rosario said during a press conference in Marawi City.
“They are legitimate. They are not blacklisted,” he added.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, in the same press briefing, said the two companies deserve a second chance since they already served the penalty imposed by the World Bank.
“Naparusahan naman sila ng WB, siguro everyone’s entitled to a second opportunity. Magmamasid tayo, magmamasid ang taong bayan (They have been penalized by the WB so everyone’s entitled to a second opportunity. Let’s remain vigilant, the nation must remain vigilant),” he said.
Del Rosario, likewise, assured there would be no collusion in the bidding of the Marawi rehabilitation projects despite the participation of the two firms.
The two Chinese firms are part of the Bangon Marawi consortium negotiating a P17.2-billion contract with the government to rebuild war-torn Marawi City.
“I can assure you in this bidding, there will be no collusion in because the bidding has yet to come during the Swiss challenge,” Del Rosario said. “The bidding will start in May 30 so there’s no collusion,” he said.
He also recognized that CSCEC, considered the biggest construction company in the world, has the capacity to undertake massive projects like the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
Once the government finalizes the proposal from the Bangon Marawi consortium, the project will be subjected to a Swiss challenge that allows rival firms to submit competing offers.
Thousands stay in shelters
Thousands of displaced remain in emergency shelters and the threat of Islamic extremists and unexploded bombs lingers in the rubble in the city, where survivors on Wednesday remembered a disastrous five-month siege by Islamic State group-aligned fighters that began a year ago.
The Rev. Teresito Soganub, who survived 117 days of captivity by the extremists in Marawi city, said that aside from the devastation, it would take years for him and other civilians to overcome the horror of having lived through airstrikes and gunbattles that threatened them day and night.
A regional official, Zia Alonto Adiong, said it was crucial to keep the public informed.
“One day in an evacuation center is already too long for someone who has lost everything,” Adiong said. “I think the frustration comes from the fear of expulsion, fear of not knowing what’s going to happen.”
Presidential adviser Jesus Dureza called for patience after some disgruntled Marawi residents held a noisy protest.
“We are working, government is doing its best to restore as much as possible what was destroyed and I think we are on the road,” Dureza said.
The government is finalizing a plan to rebuild the most devastated commercial and residential districts, where the carcasses of pockmarked homes, buildings and mosques stand eerily and gathering weeds in an urban wasteland guarded by troops. (With a report from AP)