Lanao Sur leaders welcome Marawi compensation bill

By : Bobby Lagsa Mindanao Today/09:59:00am 09/10/2021


SOLDIERS walk past heavily damaged buildings in Marawi on their way to the declaration of the city’s liberation. On Monday, September 6, 2021, Congress passed House Bill 9925 into the Marawi Compensation Act which will compensate residents of the ‘most affected area’ for the damages of the loss of their properties and businesses. (Bobby Lagsa | Mindanao Today)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Bangsamoro leaders from Lanao del Sur have welcomed the passage of the Marawi Compensation Act or House Bill 9925.

Of the total number of members of Congress, 197 lawmakers voted for the passage of the bill on the third and final reading of House Bill 9925 or the Marawi Compensation Act.

The compensation bill aims to pay residents of Marawi City who lost their homes during the five-month war between government soldiers and terrorist groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf who pledged allegiance to the Iraq-based Islamic State.

The war started on May 23, 2017, when members of the Special Forces from the Light Reaction Regiment under the Joint Special Operations Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers.

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi liberated on October 16, 2017, when Hapilon and Omar Maute were killed in their last stand near Lake Lanao.

The war lasted until November of that year when the AFP declared and “End of Combat Operation.”

Close to 117,000 residents of Marawi and nearby Lanao del Sur towns were displaced by the war and residents of the most affected area have been calling the government to pay for damages of their homes and businesses.

The bill also created and institutionalizes the Task Force Bangon Marawi to achieve the objectives set in the Marawi Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (MRRP).

The act will compensate all private properties demolished as part of the implementation of the MRRP.

“For the past three years and a half, it has been the clamor of the people of Lanao del Sur, specifically those affected by the Marawi siege, to have the Marawi Compensation Bill passed,” Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr. said.

“I commend our legislators, the national government, the BARMM, the hard-working Civil Society Organizations, the media who continuously made people aware of the status of the bill, the development agencies who generously shared their resources to fuel the advocacy, and of course, our people who stood their ground and lobbied for the passage of the bill,” Adiong added.

The governor added that they are assured that Meranaos who are severely affected by the Marawi siege will have hope that they can rebuild their lives all over again.

“We Meranaos are very resilient because of our faith in Allah the Almighty, and with just a little bit of a push, the process of rebuilding becomes easier for us. The passage of the Marawi Compensation Bill is the push we have all been waiting for. Alhamdulillah,” Adiong said.

Civil society organization Moro Consensus Group chairman Drieza Lininding who attended the Congress deliberation said that they were grateful to the leadership of the house for the swift passage of the Marawi Compensation bill amidst the pandemic.

“We felt the concern of the 197 congressmen who voted in favor of the bill in the third and final reading. We were not left alone, and we are hopeful that the Senate will also Fast-track the passage of their own version. The Passage of the Marawi Compensation is the real victory,” Lininding said.

BARMM member of parliament Zia Alonto Adiong said that they hope this encourages the Senate to also work towards passing its own version that will complement the house version eventually leading to a bicameral committee that will reconcile both versions.

“We hope that the final version of the Marawi Compensation Act will truly reflect the most pressing concerns of the people of Marawi and respond to their needs with urgency, with full knowledge and appreciation of the struggle of the Meranao people,” Zia Adiong said.

“The implementation of the resulting law must not suffer from delays and its rightful beneficiaries must not suffer from an agonizing wait, having seen the fate of so many human rights victims who are yet to receive compensation for their loss, let alone a semblance of justice for their pain and suffering,” Zia Adiong said.

The Philippine Senate Special Committee on the Marawi Rehabilitation is working to expedite the approval of the counterpart measure in the chamber, which is Senate Bill No. 1395.

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