Marawi IDPs to get cash aid, free trips to Hajj

Published March 21, 2019, 2:56 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Ali Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) have offered P73,000 cash aid and 32 free hajj slots for Marawi City siege-displaced families in an NNMF-brokered dialog between TFBM officials and restive evacuees.

(National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, Bureau of External Relations / MANILA BULLETIN)
(National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, Bureau of External Relations / MANILA BULLETIN)

Twenty of the 32 P200,000-hajj packages were raffled off by the NCMF as part of its intervention in the brewing trade of barbs between leaders of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and TBFM officials during their unprecedented confrontation at the provincial capitol complex in Marawi City last Tuesday.

The 12 remaining slots will be raffled this month, according to NCMF Secretary Saidemen, who called on the IDPs to heighten patience in the long-delayed rehabilitation and reconstruction effort for the war-torn city, especially the most affected areas (MAA).

The package includes the plane fare and accommodation for the Islamic pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

“Like you, I and my family are also residents of Marawi City longing for speedy recovery from war havocs. But let us be patient more,” Pangarungan told fellow IDPs in Maranao vernacular.

Pangarungan’s appeal followed a trade of barbs between TFBM chairman Del Rosario and IDP leader Drieza Abato Lininding over the issue of oft-rescheduling of debris-clearing operations in Marawi City’s MAA.

Lininding asked Del Rosario if he would be willing to resign if he failed again on his promise to have the MAA cleared of was debris and allow IDPs to come home by the end of August 30 this year.

Del Rosario, on the other hand, also asked Lininding to resign as civil society organization leader if the TFBM will be able to put in place reconstruction project inside MAA within July this year.

Marawi IDPs appeared divided in their clamor for reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. Residents outside the MAA who have returned home seemed passive, while the 20,000 families still trapped in evacuation centers in Northern Mindanao areas have been restive and demanding the overhaul or abolition of the TFBM.

Restive IDPs, led by Lininding, have suspected irregularities in the awarding of billions of pesos worth of contracts in debris clearing and in the distribution of relief goods among displaced families.

When emotions mellowed down at Tuesday’s dialog, Del Rosario announced that “all qualified” displaced families will receive next month P73,000 cash aid.

But IDPs demanded more and reiterated their clamor for a compensation package proposed in a bill introduced in the 17th Congress by some lawmakers.

Prior to his appointment as NCMF chief in July last year, Pangarungan had submitted to Congress a proposal crafted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for at least P20-billion payment of private property damages in Marawi.

IDPs in bigger number reconvened in Marawi City for the public hearing on Wednesday and Thursday by the House Subcommittee on Marawi Rehabilitation chaired by Anak Mindanao Party-List Rep. Makmod Mending Jr.

The restive evacuees brought in placards and streamers with messages demanding an overhaul of TFBM, the return of IDPs from evacuation centers, and for President Duterte to tap the infant Bangsamoro autonomous government in the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, among others.