Marawi Compensation Bills pass House committee

By Ali G. Macabalang

COTABATO CITY

Light has finally sparkled along the tunnel-like dream for compensation on private properties destroyed in the infamous 2017 Marawi siege, with the three enabling bills gaining committee-level approval in the House of Representatives (HoR), according to a broadcast report.

The Philippine Muslim Today (PMT) news, in its search for update on government rehabilitation efforts for Marawi City and its displaced residents, stumbled on a September 24, 2020 report by the Manila base of the Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) heralding its interview with House Deputy Speaker and lone Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman.

The PMT effort was prompted by a message from the Ranao Movement Against Corruption (RMAC) group page in Facebook calling for possible certification as “urgent” also by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Marawi Compensation Bill.

The RMAC group sounded off the call as several sectors have reportedly joined the bandwagon of campaign for the extension of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) lifespan to 2025 and for the President to certify as urgent the common intent of six bills (two in Senate and four in HoR) postponing the 2022 regional polls.

In the RMN published story, Rep. Hataman announced that the Marawi Compensation Bill has been approved by the House Committee on Disaster Resilience in September 2020.

Hataman reportedly said the committee-passed bill did not mention any amount sought for reparation of properties destroyed in Marawi City mostly by massive airstrikes by military planes for five months starting in May 2017.

It will be up to the plenary deliberations to consolidate three enabling bills that sought compensation sums between P30-billion and P50-billion, according to Hataman as reported by RMN.

House Bill 3419, which was filed by Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Ansaruddin “Hooky” Adiong, pegs the reparation cost at P50-billion . Two other bills with unreported names of authors sought P30-billion, the RMN report said.

All three bills proposed the creation of a Marawi Compensation Board that will administer the awarding of appropriate sums to legitimate claimants among thousands of residents with damaged properties, it was learned.   

One of the three bills could be the one drafted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) that was handed to the House and Senate leadership by lawyer Saidamen Pangarungan prior to his appointment as chairman and secretary of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) in 2018.  

In the RMAC group chat, meanwhile, members who are mostly Meranao professionals asserted that a Presidential push via “urgent certification” for the Marawi Compensation Bill has been long overdue. They complained that IDPs from Marawi have been suffering from double whammy – displacement and loss of properties as well as adversities in the prevailing Coronavirus.

One RMAC member mentioned about one BARMM cabinet official acting like “untouchable” in his alleged whimsical acts of running office and undermining pronounced policies by the Office of the Chief Minister. AGM

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