Int’l group backs urgent passage of Sen. Bam’s compensation bill for Marawi victims

An international organization is calling for the urgent passage of Sen. Bam Aquino’s measure that seeks to provide monetary compensation to Marawi City residents who lost their homes and other private properties to the siege perpetrated by the ISIS-inspired Maute group last year.

According to Francisco Lara, senior adviser of International Alert Philippines, the enactment of the Sen. Bam’s Senate Bill No. 1816 or the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2018 will help hasten the rebuilding of the war-torn city and help mend the wounds created by the conflict.

“It’s very important. It’s very important in terms of healing wounds created by the war in Marawi,” said Lara.

Lara stressed that it is unfair for the people of Marawi that a compensation bill is taking this long to pass, considering the urgency of the situation.

“It’s unfair that a compensation bill is taking this long to pass. This is the only thing the victims have to look forward to,” said Lara.

Sen. Bam filed Senate Bill No. 1816 on May 22, 2018, pointing out that the monetary compensation will give Marawi residents with means to immediately recover from the damage and destruction to their homes and private property caused by the Marawi siege.

“Sa ngayon, wala pang paraan upang mabigyan sila ng tulong mula sa gobyerno na katumbas ng kanilang personal na ari-arian na nawala at nasira sa bakbakan,” said Sen. Bam.

“Ang tulong na ito’y isang hakbang upang masiguro ang kapayapaan at ang daan tungo sa kasaganaan  sa Marawi at sa buong bayan,” he added.

Based on earlier computation by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the rehabilitation of Marawi City will come with a tag price of around P51.7 billion.

As member of the member of the Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation, Sen. Bam filed Senate Resolution No. 661 last February 26, 2018, asking the committee to look into the government’s moral and ethical obligation to provide financial assistance and support to victims of the siege. However, Sen. Bam’s resolution was not acted upon.

On May 23, 2017, the ISIS-inspired Maute Group attacked Marawi City, destroying public infrastructure, private properties and holding hundreds of civilian hostage.

The attack displaced thousands of Marawi residents from their homes and forced them to seek shelter in evacuation centers or live with their relatives in nearby cities. The attack also destroyed business establishments that served as source of income, livelihood and employment for many Marawi residents.

After government forces successfully regained control of the city and killed known international terrorist Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, the administration declared Marawi City liberated from ISIS-inspired forces on Oct. 17, 2017.

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