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LP urges Malacañang to reject 2 blacklisted China firms in Marawi rehabilitation

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The Liberal Party (LP) on Tuesday urged Malacanang not to turn a blind eye to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) report that found two blacklisted Chinese companies being among tapped to rehabilitate Marawi City.

The LP made the call as they also pressed for the lifting of the martial law in Mindanao which will now mark its first year on declaration today.

“We are concerned about the involvement of two Chinese contractors in conducting rehabilitation work in Marawi, considering that these two Chinese companies — China State Construction Engineering Corporation and China Geo Engineering Corporation — were blacklisted in 2009 by the World Bank due to corrupt practices in the Philippines,” they said in a statement.

“The people of Marawi already suffered enough. The administration should not aggravate their pain by turning a blind eye on martial law abuses and counting on Chinese contractors with questionable backgrounds to take charge of Marawi City’s rehabilitation,” the LP stressed.

In its report, the PCIJ noted that the said companies were barred by WB for several years from participating in projects financed by the bank, as a result of the blacklisting over alleged violations of the procurement law committed during the Arroyo administration.

They alleged to have colluded with local companies in rigging the bidding of road projects partly financed by WB in 2004.

The PCIJ said the two Chinese firms will form part of the Bangon Marawi Consortium (BMC) which will carry out over 800 programs and projects under the ambitious master plan of the Duterte administration for war-torn Marawi.

While the war is long over, the LP said that the people of Marawi cannot start healing the wounds of the past with the continued implementation of martial law which allows warrantless arrest not only in the said province but in the entire Mindanao region.

“For one, congressional hearings on President Duterte’s declaration of martial law and its extension until December 2018 have revealed that there is no rebellion in Mindanao that would warrant the extension of the military rule. Threats of rebellion do not qualify, as the Constitution only provides for presence of actual rebellion, invasion or when public safety requires it,” they said.

Worse, they pointed out, rights group Amnesty International reported in November 2017 that human rights abuses were committed both by the Maute group and some members of the military even under the implementation of martial law which government claims would restore law and order.

“If the administration really wants to ensure public safety, it should focus on providing permanent shelters to the 26,000 households that were displaced by the Marawi siege rather than letting the Marawi residents live in fear due to the ongoing martial law. The government has only managed to build 1,000 temporary shelters for the affected communities thus far. This figure clearly shows that the government should put its money where its mouth is: shelter for the Marawi residents,” they said.

The siege of Marawi by the terrorist Maute group, a nightmare that went on for five months, left over a hundred people dead and P53 billion worth of damages.

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