MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 24 May) – The Marawi Compensation Board (MCB) finally signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the renumeration of the victims of the Marawi Siege here on Tuesday, May 23, exactly six years after the start of the five-month urban warfare between government troops and Islamic State-aligned militants that destroyed the core of the country’s only Islamic city.
The IRR needs to be published first in two papers with national circulation before the P1 billion tax-free reparation can be rolled out to renumerate the residents who lost family members and properties during the siege, Maisara Dandamub-Latiph, MCB chairperson, said.
“Fifteen days (after publication), the real work will begin as the board will start evaluating the claims and schedule the payments,” Latiph, a lawyer, said.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier directed the nine-member MCB to facilitate the tax-free reparation payment for victims of the Marawi Siege in 2017.
Latiph said the Department of Budget and Management had already allotted the P1 billion reparation fund.
MCB member Atty. Mabandes Diron Jr. said the government would pay P35,000 per square meter for concrete buildings and P18,000 per square meter for wooden houses destroyed during the war.
Diron said the board is authorize to give a P350,000 compensation package for a family whose member was killed in the crossfire during the fighting.
Another MCB member, Atty. Moslemen Macarambon Sr., said the board, however, would be strict, and will require claimants to provide supporting documents.
“If they say their hardware store was burned down, they must present invoices of their stocks. No document means no pay,” Macarambon said.
After waiting for six years, 47-year-old Jaslia Abbas is elated that she would finally be compensated for her house that was destroyed in the fierce gun battle between government forces and the combined Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups. The militants seized Marawi in a bid to establish it as a province of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.
Abbas, a mother of six children, said she could finally rebuild her destroyed home in Barangay Moncado here, which she left in 2017 to live a nomad’s life, transferring from one evacuation camp to another.
“I have waited for six years for this. I pray that the money will bring some closure to the pain of uncertainty I bear all these years,” Abbas said.
Abbas sat on the sidelines at the newly renovated Rizal Park in Marawi City as the nine-member MCB signed the IRR.
Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong (1st District, Lanao del Sur) reminded the board that its main job is not only to give financial compensation to the affected residents.
“The board should see to it that it is just and it should listen to the people who have suffered so much in the past six years,” Adiong said.
Adiong said most Marawi residents are still in shock after seeing their city razed to the ground during the fighting.
“The bullet-riddled and flattened houses that we see is a constant reminder of the cries of the children who lived in evacuation camps,” Adiong said.
Drieza Liningding, chair of the Marawi Consensus Group, said at least 5,000 families are still living in temporary shelters six years after the Marawi siege, and that they are still struggling to get back their lives.
Most of Marawi’s section called the Main Affected Area or MAA, the Ground Zero where the militants made their last stand, is still off-limits to residents although the government has constructed new mosques, buildings and a sprawling sports stadium in the area. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)