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Sweeteners mulled for ‘Marawi’ bonds

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By Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Finance (DOF) is considering several sweeteners to make the “Marawi” bonds attractive to investors and fund the large-scale infrastructure projects in the war-torn city in Mindanao.

In a statement, National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon said the national government is exploring several “structures” and features to make “Marawi” bonds appealing to both institutional investors and retail investors.

Among the features the treasurer proposes is for the bonds to become an alternative option for institutional investors in complying with the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act or Republic Act No. 10000.

RA 10000 mandates banks to set aside a portion of their investible funds for loans to government priority programs for farmers, fisherfolk and other agriculture-based workers.

“In preparation for that, we’ve also been doing some features, including the Agri-Agra eligibility that we have secured to make the bonds more attractive. In fact, there are also some structures that we are also considering to make it more attractive to retail investors,” De Leon said.

She, however, said the government would have to “calibrate” the amount of Marawi bonds that would be issued based on the financing requirements needed for the implementation of the rehabilitation program.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the government will issue the Marawi bonds once the ongoing Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (BMCRRP) moves to the next phase of the rehabilitation plan, which involves building large-scale infrastructure projects.

Dominguez also said the ongoing clearing operations in Marawi as well as the provision of housing and basic services such as water to its residents are currently being funded by allocations in the national budget, which are currently sufficient to fulfill such requirements.

“When we start getting into the bigger expenditures, then we will be issuing the Marawi bonds,” Dominguez said at a recent press briefing.

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