Housing secretary urges swift passage of bill providing compensation for damaged properties in Marawi

Published October 23, 2020, 7:04 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario has called for the swift passage of the bill providing compensation for damaged houses and other properties in Marawi City during the 2017 terror siege.

Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario

Del Rosario, also chairman of the Task Force Bangon Marawi, said the compensation bill would provide assistance to displaced families struggling to rebuild their properties in Marawi.

“When I was invited during the committee deliberations, I have stated my strong support for the passage of the compensation bill,” he said during an online media forum hosted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office-Office of Global Media and Public Affairs.

“We really need to fast track the compensation bill. We fully support its eventual approval,” said Del Rosario, the new secretary of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.

Del Rosario said it is up to President Duterte if he would certify the Marawi compensation bill as urgent to facilitate its timely passage. “Actually it’s the President’s prerogative,” he said when asked if he requested the President to issue an urgent certification of the bill.

So far, Del Rosario said more than 2,000 have applied for building permits while more than 400 have started to build and repair their houses.  He noted that there was a total of 6,400 structures in Marawi City before the May 2017 siege of the area.

“If we consider the 480, it’s still a small percentage. We are encouraging residents to really apply and start the construction. Maybe it all depends on their capacity or the money to construct their own houses,” he said.

“The proposed compensation bill is still in Congress so most likely other families cannot build the houses on their own,” he said.

To address the housing needs in Marawi, he said the government is also building 3,500 housing units that will benefit families displaced by the conflict.

Under the House bill, monetary compensation will be given to qualified claimants for the loss or destruction of residential and commercial properties following the five-month battle between Maute forces and government troops in Marawi in May 2017.

The bill also seeks to institutionalize the Task Force Bangon Marawi to oversee the implementation of the rebuilding workers in the war-torn area.

Del Rosario said concerned local government units and civil society groups have also backed the passage of the Marawi compensation bill. He said they made the request to the President about the compensation measure during a meeting back in March.

Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra said the local building officials are scrutinizing the application for building permits to ensure they have the proper documents. The mayor said the application for building permit must include certain documents including proof of ownership.

“Sometimes our personnel from the building officials encountered some applications na nagkakarooon ng overlapping claims (that have overlapping claims) We have to scrutinize all of these applications para hindi tayo maka-create ng gulo, panibagong gulo dito sa Marawi City (to avoid another trouble in Marawi City),” he said in the same online press briefing. 

Del Rosario meantime affirmed that the government remained on track in rehabilitating Marawi City. He said the rebuilding works will be completed by December 2012.

“As we speak, massive construction works for various major and infrastructure projects are ongoing based on the timeline and methodology under the Marawi master development plan in the most affected area and the comprehensive reconstruction plan for the whole city,” he said.