Duterte urged to certify bill compensating Marawi siege victims as urgent

Published May 22, 2021, 10:46 AM

by Mario Casayuran

House deputy speaker and Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman on Saturday, May 22, reiterated his appeal to President Duterte to certify as urgent the measure that would provide compensation to hundreds of thousands of victims of the 2017 Marawi siege.

House deputy speaker and Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman (ARMM Bureau of Public Information via Facebook)

Hataman said passage of House Bill No. 3543 would enable the siege victims to “return with dignity” to their homeland.

“Apat na taon na simula nang mangyari ang giyera sa Marawi, pero malabo pang makauwi ang ating mga kababayang naging biktima doon. Pero sana naman pag pwede na silang umuwi ay ‘wag naman sanang kawawa. Naghintay na sila ng matagal, wag na sana nating dagdagan ang hirap nila (The siege ended four years ago but the victims’ return is still not clear. Hoping that when they return, they return with dignity. After suffering for so long, let us not add to their difficulties),” said Hataman, one of the principal authors of the compensation measure.

“And the President will be leaving a lasting legacy if he decides to certify the measure as urgent,’’ he added.

‘’Tinitingala po kayo bilang ama ng ating bansa, na kapwa taga-Mindanao at may dugo pang Moro. Sana ay matulungan ang ating mga kababayan sa Marawi (You are looked upon as the father of the country, who is a fellow Mindanaoan and has a Moro blood. Hoping that help would be forthcoming for our countrymen in Marawi),’’ he told Duterte.

Hataman made the call on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the fateful siege on Marawi, saying the fact that the rehabilitation of the city dragged on this long is enough reason to fast-track the enactment of the Marawi Compensation Bill.

The Task Force Bangon Marawi pegged December of 2021 as their deadline on the rehabilitation efforts in the Most Affected Areas (MAA) of Marawi. Before that day, no one is allowed to return to the MAA, where a majority of the population is concentrated before the siege.

“And while we wait for the promised deadline that has been long overdue, what assistance do the siege victims get from the government?’’ Hataman asked.

‘’Kung meron man, kulang na kulang at hindi pa lahat nabibigyan. Walang forum na pwedeng mareklamuhan kundi social media at sa media lang (If aid had been given, it was not enough and not all were given. There is no other forum than social media and to media that they could voice their views),” he pointed out.

“This is why the approval of this measure will be a welcome relief for these victims. Hindi man kayang pantayan ang paghihirap nila, meron silang konting pampagawa ng bahay, pantustos sa pangangailangan o pansimula ng negosyo (While the requested compensation would not be enough to repay their hardships, at least there is something to build their houses with, repay their needs or start a business),’’ he added.

A consolidated substitute bill was approved by the House Committee on Disaster Resilience in September last year and has since been pending in the Appropriation Committee.

It was signed and co-authored by at least 125 representatives, including House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Minority Leader Kit Belmonte and several other senior officers of the lower chamber.

“So I call on the rest of my colleagues in the Lower House to give the measure a final push and see to its approval,” Hataman said.

“I also call on our esteemed colleagues in the Senate to include this measure in its priority list. Sama sama po nating tulungan ang mga taga-Marawi (Let us work together to help Marawi),’’ he appealed.