Marawi task force chairman ''very grateful'' to Duterte after defense of hajj pilgrimage
The chairperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi said he is ''very grateful'' to President Rodrigo Duterte for defending the sponsored pilgrimage they gave to 27 victims of the Marawi City 2017 siege.
"I am very grateful for the President’s expression of full support to TFBM’s sponsorhip of 27 IDPs ( internally displaced persons) to Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia,” Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario said in a statement.
Dela Rosario said Duterte’s statement showed his deep understanding of the Islamic culture and its implications.
“The President’s sterling leadership truly inspires and drives us to bring about more positive changes in public service,” he said.
Duterte on Thursday said the Commission on Audit should allow the "unauthorized" transfer of P5 million by the Task Force Bangon Marawi to the travel expenses of some Muslims from war-torn Marawi City in their pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
"So, I am asking COA to reconsider. What is five million? Actually that five million is worth billions in terms of your kind, I said generosity, to finance the poor people, the Muslims to go to hajj," he said.
He said for Muslims, going to hajj is more important than building them five mansions.
In the 2018 audit report, COA said the P5 million was "not among the authorized expenses" in the memorandum of agreement executed by the Office of the President and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
HUDCC transferred the fund to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and the COA is asking them to refund or return it.
Del Rosario, who also heads HUDCC, has said the purpose of the transfer of funds was for social healing of the victims of Marawi siege. Ella Dionisio/DMS