DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /28 August) – It’s a race against time, again, for Marawi residents who have been displaced since the 2017 siege as compensation for their losses depends largely on the appointment of the nine-member Marawi Compensation Board (MCB) that will promulgate the Implementing Rules, Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11696 and ensure that the Post Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA) is updated and there is a substantial budget in the 2023 General Appropriations Act to implement the law.
As of August 28, however, Marcos has yet to appoint the board which, in consultation with the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission, Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and the National Economic Development Authority, is tasked to promulgate the IRR “within 60 days from the effectivity” of the law.
RA 11696 or the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2022 was signed by then President Rodrigo Duterte last April 13 and published in the Official Gazette on April 27. Reckoned from publication date, it became effective on May 12. The IRR is supposed to have been promulgated “within 60 days” or on or before July 12, 2022.
The board promulgates the IRR.
The delayed appointment of members of the board will also delay the promulgation of the IRR, updating of the PCNA, and ensuring there is a substantial budget for 2023.
The Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2022 provides tax-free monetary compensation to three kinds of claimants displaced by the Marawi Siege of 2017: those whose properties were destroyed; those who lost their loved ones during the five-month war between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group; and those whose properties were demolished during the implementation of the MRRRP (Marawi Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program),
To be compensated are those who suffered total or partial destruction of their residential property; cultural property and facilities such as mosques, madaris, schools and colleges, hospitals and other health facilities; commercial property or those used exclusively for commercial or business purposes; and other properties such as “house appliances, jewelries, machineries, rice mills, and other equipment of value” in 32 of Marawi City’s 96 barangays that were devastated by the war.
The 32 barangays refer to the 24 barangays in the 250-hectare former main battle area or ‘Ground Zero’ during the five-month war, now referred to as Most Affected Area (MAA), and eight barangays that also suffered damages, or “Other Affected Areas” (OAA).
The amount of compensation will be determined by the MCB.
Claimants have up to one year from the organization of the MCB to file their claims. The Board has five years from the effectivity of the IRR to do its work.
Post Conflict Needs Assessment
The law also provides that in the absence of baseline data or the required documents, the validated cost estimates and data utilized for the PCNA mandated under the MRRRP may be used to determine just compensation. It also provides that the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), in coordination with Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM ) shall update the PCNA report within three months after the effectivity of the law “for purposes of assessing the degree of damage and present the actual or estimated valuation of such damage to each structure caused by the siege and implementation of MRRRP.”
August 12 is three months from effectivity of the law.
The law says that in updating the PCNA report, “the agencies shall also consider additional information on the damages and losses incurred from areas that have become accessible only after the mitigation of security threats.”
The PCNA under the MRRRP estimated the damages and losses at 18.6 billion pesos and noted that financing the full recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi and affected areas would need 51.7 billion pesos.
In March 2019, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ Lanao del Sur – Marawi City Chapter submitted to the House Sub-Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation documents pertaining to the claims of 15,102 residents displaced from Ground Zero of a total of 91.6 billion pesos in damages brought about by the five-month war between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group and its allies in 2017.
Marawi Compensation Board
According to RA 1196, members of the independent and quasi-judicial Marawi Compensation Board must be of “known probity, competence and integrity” and must have a deep and thorough understanding and knowledge of compensation as a concept in international law and Philippine law.
At least three of them must be lawyers, preferably Meranaw who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least five years; two must be representatives of civil society organizations, one of whom is a Sharia lawyer or a Muslim traditional leader; one licensed physician, one accountant, one educator and one licensed civil engineer.
The Board is supposed to organize itself within 30 days from the completion of the appointment of its members, and organize its Secretariat.
The chair and eight other members of the MCB will be appointed by the President but organizations of traditional leaders, professionals, the ulama and civil society “may submit nominations to the President.”
The board is tasked to receive, evaluate, process and investigate applications for claims; issue subpoenas ad testificandum and subpoenas duces tecum; conduct independent administrative proceedings and resolve disputes over claims; approve with finality all eligible claims; disburse any and all compensation to qualified claimants at the earliest possible time; promulgate rules as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the law; exercise administrative control and supervision over its Secretariat; at its discretion, may consult organizations of traditional leaders, professionals, ulama and civil society; and perform such other duties, functions, and responsibilities as may be necessary to effectively attain the objectives of the law.
On July 22, Senator Robinhood Padilla filed Resolution No. 8 urging the Office of the Executive Secretary to “conduct the vetting process of the nominees that will compose the Marawi Compensation Board for purposes of their appointment by the President.”
MindaNews asked Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles on Sunday on the status of the board — when it will be constituted by President Marcos and if there is a shortlist already of nominees. She said she will check.
Sec 6 of the law provides that the amount necessary for the initial implementation shall be charged against the current year’s (2022) appropriations of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF) for the MRRRP and that the amount necessary for the implementation of the law “shall be included in the annual GAA,” referring to the GAA for 2023.
A check with the Department of Budget and Management showed 20 billion pesos was allocated for the NDRRMF for 2022, out of which one billion pesos is for the MRRRP, specifically to be used “for recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction, aid and relief projects as identified by the TFBM in Marawi City and other affected areas “in connection with the occurrence of armed conflicts, particularly the Marawi Siege.”
Then Housing Secretary and TFBM chair Eduardo del Rosario told MindaNews early this year that the one-billion-peso budget from the NDRRMF is “earmarked for the completion of various projects” on the rehabilitation of Marawi.
According to the state-owned Philippine News Agency on June 25, del Rosario said rehabilitation, recovery, and reconstruction efforts will continue even after Duterte’s end of term on June 30 and that TFBM “targets a 90-percent completion of physical infrastructure by the end of the third quarter this year.”
The Marcos administration, according to the National Expenditure Program for 2023, proposes 31 billion pesos for the NDRRMF or an increase of 11 billion pesos from 2022, out of which only one billion pesos is to be allocated for the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Fund.
Before the House and Senate bills on Marawi compensation were consolidated into what is now RA 11696, most of them proposed 30 billion pesos compensation fund in three equal amounts in the annual GAA for the next three years or 10 billion pesos a year.
RA 11696 also provides that the operating budget of the board “shall be funded from the current year’s appropriations of the Contingent Fund, provided that it shall “not exceed 50 million pesos a year.”
The chair and members of the board shall have the rank, salary, emoluments and allowances equivalent to a Presiding Justice and Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, respectively. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)