BTA Parliament approves, adopts Committee Report on Marawi

By JULIUS DISAMBURUN

COTABATO CITY: The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament during its 2nd Regular Session held on August 27, 2020, approved and adopted Committee Report No. 35 presented by the Special Committee on Marawi (SCM). 

MP Diamila Disimban-Ramos, the principal author of PR 130 and a Member of the Special Committee on Marawi. (Photo by Julius Disamburun)

Constituted in September 2019, the SCM serves as “BTA’s mechanism for data gathering and monitoring on status of the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts planned and/or implemented for Marawi City and offering recommendations for the Bangsamoro Government’s appropriate action in relation there”.  

The said committee is composed of 29 members – with Deputy Chief Minister Aleem Ali Solaiman as Chairperson and Members of Parliament (MPs) lawyer Anna Tarhata Basman, Dr. Hamid Aminoddin Barra and Abdullah ‘Commander Bravo’ Macapaar, as Vice-Chairpersons.

The 127-page document is a product of series of committee meetings, field visits, public hearings and consultations with various stakeholders such as the IDPs, local government officials, CSOs, iNGOs, experts and concerned government agencies from Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM). 

It details among others issues and concerns raised by the residents displaced and affected by Marawi siege; various interventions of the regional and national government and other private institutions; and recommendations by the Special Committee on Marawi Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. 

Issues highlighted in the report includes land specifically on property rights and ownership, core necessities which include basic utilities, clearing and demolition, taxes, temporary and permanent shelters, livelihood, education, health, public works, financial aid, data profiling, military reservation, transitional justice and security.

Proposed Resolution No. 130, “A RESOLUTION CALLING FOR THE BANGSAMORO GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO MARAWI SIEGE SURVIVORS FROM GROUND ZERO FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION AND/OR REPAIR OF THEIR DAMAGED HOUSES AND APPROPRIATE FUNDS THEREFOR has been included as part of the recommendations in the report.  

MP Diamila Disimban-Ramos, the principal author of PR 130 and a Member of the Special Committee, noted that while existing measures are in place to assist displaced survivors get back on their feet, such financial aid intervention is yet to materialize. In fact, the Marawi City Master Development Plan by the TFBM provides only “for the construction/reconstruction of public infrastructure. 

The reconstruction of private properties (except for those that will be prescribed as historical sites) shall be undertaken by the respective homeowners. Hence, MP Ramos believes, this form of assistance is one of the best interventions the Bangsamoro Government can give to complement the initiatives of the National Government.

This recommendation is made in view of the clamor of the Marawi IDPs to return to their homes.  They repeatedly raised in the public hearings and consultations their dire need for financial assistance to reconstruct and/or repair their damaged houses in the Most Affected Areas (MAAs). 

Moreover, this proposal has the strong support of the local government of Marawi City as manifested in City Council Resolution No. 033-02, Series of 2020 dated February 24, 2020 and also with the letter dated February 28, 2020 sent by the City Mayor lawyer Majul Gandamra to the Chief Minister seeking for the immediate passage of the said resolution.

“Marami sa kanila ang ina-allow ng bumalik sa Marawi katulad po ng Sectors 1 and 2 sa Brgy. Tulali, however 20-30 percent lang ang nakakabalik dahil wala pong resources ang ating IDPs para ipatayo po ang kanilang bahay, yan po ang malaking nagpipigil sa kanila” (“Many of them are already allowed to return, like in Sectors 1 and 2 in Brgy.Tulali, however, only 20-30 percent are able to return because our IDPs lack the resources to construct their houses and that’s what’s stopping them from returning”.) – said MP Ramos in her statement during the adoption of the Committee Report in the Parliament.

The support to the ongoing Marawi Rehabilitation by the Bangsamoro Government was included in the 12-point priority agenda of Chief Minister Ahod ‘Al Haj Murad’ Ebrahim. While it is true that the National Government through the TFBM is the one funding and implementing the programs, projects and activities for Marawi Rehabilitation, the Bangsamoro Government can actually supplement funding to the TFBM.  This is why the Chief Minister allotted P500 Million for Marawi Rehabilitation which is due for implementation this 2020. 

This is beside the 1,000 houses that will be constructed, with the help of land donors, for the displaced families affected by the siege.

Deputy Chief Minister Ali Solaiman, who chaired the Committee, said the Bangsamoro Government seeks to link the efforts of the different offices and organization involved in the rehabilitation efforts in order to fast-track its process.

“Let us not despair. The Bangsamoro Government is here to bridge the gaps in the efforts of the National Government, the different Ministries, NGOs, and other stakeholders so as to fast-track the rehabilitation of Marawi”.

Member of Parliament and Committee Vice-Chair Anna Tarhata Basman, emphasized the urgency of the report especially given the outbreak of COVID-19.  

“As much as the Bangsamoro Government is eager to solve the concerns of the IDPs on its own, it must call on other government instrumentalities if a comprehensive and satisfactory Marawi rehabilitation and reconstruction is to happen,” Basman said.

Former Peace Process Undersecretary and now Parliament Member lawyer Jose Lorena likewise hoped that the Bangsamoro Parliament will take this report seriously because the people of Marawi is now expecting too much from Bangsamoro Government.

“Because [this] report has given our people from Marawi the hope that actions will be taken by the Parliament and the Bangsamoro Government to address nagging problems,” Lorena reiterated.

On the other hand, MP lawyer Maisara Dandamun-Latiph manifested and explained the importance of one essential element in this rehabilitation, the Kambalingan, as it should be reflected in the committee report.

“The issue of Kambalingan or homecoming is the heart of issue of Marawi. Why is this important to report the accurate words of the people? This will serve as memorialization for the people who suffered and lost their loved ones,” MP Latiph said.

Efforts of TFBM was also highlighted in the report through the mechanism of “Kathagombalay” that is slowly opening up the MAA starting with Barangays Tolali and Daguduban.

On March 4, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte, upon the initiative of Senator Christopher Bong Go and the Senate Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation, had a meeting in Malacañang with his Cabinet and Marawi stakeholders to discuss issues surrounding Marawi Rehabilitation. The meeting that lasted four hours captured significant outputs.  

The Chief Executive ordered the concerned national agencies to cut short bureaucratic processes especially the system on downloading funds, to hasten the rehabilitation. 

He also committed to visit Marawi at least once a month to personally check the progress of the rehabilitation and reiterated his promise to finish the rehabilitation during his term. The President expressed his oneness with the IDPs for their immediate, safe and dignified return to their homes. (Julius Disamburun)

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