Sen. Bam Aquino urged the government to assist owners of private properties destroyed during the Marawi conflict as part of its efforts to rehabilitate the war-torn city.
The senator issued the call during the initial hearing of the Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation, of which he is a member for the minority.
“Napansin ko sa mga footage na karamihan sa mga nawasak sa labanan ay mga pribadong ari-arian. Dapat nating siguraduhin na may mekanismo ang pamahalaan para magbigay ng suporta sa mga may-ari ng pribadong ari-arian na nasira sa labanan,” said Sen. Bam, who is looking into possible legislation to address the issue.
“Wala kaming mahanap na probisyon that allows for government support for damaged private property para sa ating kababayang nawalan ng tirahan dahil sa combat operations,” he added.
The Department of National Defense (DND) said its legal support group is looking into the legality of extending assistance to owners of private properties.
“For government offices and public schools, I am confident we can find funding and rebuild quickly. Ngunit kailangan rin nating tulungan ang mga kababayan nating nasiraan ng bahay at kabuhayan,” Sen. Bam insisted.
During the hearing, Sen. Bam underscored the minority’s full support for the government’s efforts to rehabilitate Marawi City as soon as the conflict is over.
“This is one of those efforts where we need to work together to ensure that the benefit of our countrymen can be felt,” said Sen. Bam.
The senator also wants to invite officials from the local government unit (LGU) of Marawi and members of a non-government organization in the area to serve as voice and check and balance in the planning and implementation stages.
Sen. Bam also emphasized that the committee might visit Marawi City when the fighting stops in the area for a closer look at the extent of the damage in the area and to determine the pressing needs that needs to be addressed first.
There are currently 359,680 internally displaced persons (IDPs) or 78,466 displaced families due to the conflict in Marawi.