Senator Sonny Angara on Sunday said it is high time that the government prioritizes programs that would enable residents of Marawi City to rebuild their homes after being displaced by the five-month long armed conflict in 2017.
Angara noted it has been four years since the Marawi City siege occurred and though the government has won the war, up to P17-billion worth of property and economic opportunities were lost during the conflict.
The Senate Finance Committee, which the senator chairs, has reported out the committee report for Senate Bill No. 2420 or the proposed “Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2021” which seeks to provide just compensation to the victims of the Marawi City siege for the damage, loss, or destruction of their properties.
The measure was filed in substitution of Senate Bill No. 1395 introduced by Majority Leader Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Senators Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino, Christopher “Bong” Go, and Imee Marcos; and 2394 by Senators Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan and Richard Gordon.
“Though we emerged victorious, there is no such thing as a war without death, damage, or destruction. While up to 1,200 individuals were killed on both sides of the siege, it was estimated that up to P17-billion worth of property and economic opportunities were lost,” Angara said.
“The biggest casualty were the hopes and dreams of the proud Maranao people,” he pointed out.
The bill primarily provides tax-free monetary compensation to the owners of residential, cultural or commercial structures within Marawi’s Most Affected Areas (MAA) and Other Affected Areas (OAA).
The MAA includes 24 barangays, namely Lumbac Madaya, South Madaya, Raya Madaya 1 and 2, Sabala Amanao, Sabala Amanao Proper, Tolali, Daguduban, Norhaya Village, Banggolo Poblacion, Bubong Madaya, Lilod Madaya, Dansalan, Datu sa Dansalan, Sangkay Dansalan, Moncado Colony, Moncado Kadilingan, Marinaut West, Marinaut East, Kapantaran, Wawalayan Marinaut, Lumbac Marinaut, Tuca Marinaut at Datu Naga.
The OAA covers eight other barangays, namely Saduc Proper, Panggao Saduc, Raya Saduc, Lilod Saduc, Datu Saber, Bangon, Fort at Wawalayan Caloocan.
Compensation will also be provided to the owners of private properties that were demolished as part of the implementation of the Marawi Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program.
The bill also seeks to establish a Marawi Compensation Board that will be tasked to administer the distribution of compensation to claimants.
Angara explained that though the Task Force Bangon Marawi has given the green light for some residents to return to their homes, this was done on the condition that they are able to secure building permits.
This requirement has made it difficult to the residents, whom he said find it hard to produce proof of ownership which they need to secure a permit; most of them also do not have the funds to start rebuilding their homes.
Residents who were allowed a brief visit to their homes to salvage whatever possessions they had left, only found rubble.
“Ito ang tinutumbok ng ating panukalang batas. Walang saysay kasi ang anumang rehabilitasyon ng Marawi kung hindi makakauwi ang mga taga Marawi (This is what this bill seeks to address. No rehabilitation program for Marawi will happen if Marawi residents themselves could not return home),” Angara pointed out.
“At kapag may bayad-pinsala o compensation silang matatanggap para sa property nila na nasira o nawasak, mas meeenganyo silang magsimula at itayo muli ang kanilang buhay sa Marawi (And if they are able to receive compensation for their property that was destroyed, they would be encouraged to start and rebuild their homes in Marawi),” the lawmaker added.
The House of Representatives passed its counterpart measure, House Bill No. 9925 or the proposed Marawi Compensation Act, last September.