Marawi rally staged by displaced residents dispersed

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 25 Nov) – Police on Wednesday dispersed a rally staged by internally displaced persons (IDPs) or “bakwits” who were clamoring for the passage of the Marawi Compensation Bill.

A policeman takes away tarpaulins and streamers as a protest rally by internally displaced persons in Marawi City on Wednesday (24 November 2021) urging the Senate to pass the Marawi Compensation Bill was dispersed. Photo courtesy of MERLYN MANOS

Drieza Liningding, Moro Consensus Group chair, said the police came as the estimated 500 IDPs were about to start their rally at the Kilometer Zero marker.

“The police took our tarps and placards and threatened the IDPs of detention,” he said.

The police, he said, told them they were violating COVID-19 health protocols by staging a rally without a permit from the city government.

Drieza said they decided not to continue the rally and advised IDPs to go home peacefully.

He said the IDPs went out to the streets to demand that the Senate pass the Marawi Compensation Bill before time runs out as the 2022 elections are approaching.

The House of Representatives has already passed its version of the compensation bill, House Bill no. 9925, allowing Marawi private property owners to be compensated for the loss of their property based on the current market value.

Protesters display posters urging the Senate to pass the Marawi Compensation Bill during a rally in Marawi City on Wednesday (24 November 2021). MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

The Senate version is still on second reading in the plenary despite assurances from Senator Ronald dela Rosa, chair of the Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation.

Marawi Sultan Hamidullah Atar, head of Reconciliation Initiatives for Development Opportunities (RIDO), said the bill should be passed during this administration before the 2022 elections otherwise the new administration will carry the burden.

“We also do not know the attitude of the new president. Will he or she see Marawi as an important issue” Atar asked.

Task Force Bangon Marawi head Eduardo del Rosario, secretary of the Department of Humans Settlements and Urban Development, said they have finished constructing 75 to 85 percent of government infrastructure in bombed-out Marawi.

Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra reported they have approved 1,113 of the 2,272 applications from landowners who wanted to construct their houses.

Del Rosario said the passage of the Marawi Compensation Bill is needed because government has no money for the construction of private houses and buildings destroyed by the fighting.

In its May 2020 report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said 120,000 Marawi residents were displaced and needed protection and support. The UNHCR report said COVID-19 also heightened the risk of the families and their communities because of limited access to hygiene facilities like water that is difficult to come by in the transitory shelters. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

A military truck passes through a newly cemented road of downtown Marawi City on Wednesday (24 November 2021) amidst the devastation caused by the fighting between government troops and Daesh-inspired militants in 2017. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO