Marawi group lauds Congress for passage of 'Compensation Bill'

By Nef Luczon

September 7, 2021, 8:22 pm

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The civic group Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch (MRCW) on Tuesday lauded the efforts of legislators in the House of Representatives for passing House Bill (HB) 9925 or the Marawi Compensation Act on its third and final reading.

In a statement coursed through Maureen Anthea T. Lacuesta of International Alert Philippines, the MRCW said the group has been at the "forefront in pushing for a Marawi compensation bill in both the House and the Senate" since 2018, a year after the Marawi siege.

"We participated in many public hearings as resource persons, have surfaced urgent issues, and lobbied for our people in different fora and platforms. We campaigned hard in the last State of the Nation Address to call on the President to certify the Marawi Compensation Bill as urgent," the statement read.

The group acknowledged Rep. Amihilda J. Sangcopan of Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Party-list, Leyte 4th District Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, Basilan Rep. Mujiv S. Hataman, Lanao del Norte 1st District Representatives Mohamad Khalid Q. Dimaporo and Ansarrudin Abdul Malik A. Adiong, and Lanao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Yasser Alonto Balindong "for consistently championing the plight of the people of Marawi."

"And being a strong ally in our collective clamor for the passage of this important legislation to help heal and rebuild the lives of the Marawi siege victims," it added.

The MRCW said it would remain vigilant and steadfast in lobbying and ensuring that HB 9925 will have its Senate counterpart and see its eventual passage.

"We call on the support of the Senate, especially Senators Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, Francis N. Tolentino, Ronald M. dela Rosa, Christopher Lawrence T. Go, and Imee R. Marcos, who filed the draft Marawi Compensation Bill submitted by MRCW in December 2019 as Senate Bill 1395 in March 2020. We also look forward to working closely with Senator Risa Hontiveros, who will file a similar Marawi compensation bill in the Senate," it said.

Cash-for-work IDP recipients

Meanwhile, about 100 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who benefitted from the cash-for-work program of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - Philippines conveyed their gratitude for the significant aid the international organization and its project have contributed to their dwelling in Bahay Pag-asa I in Barangay Bito Buadi Itowa in Marawi City.

Engineer Ismael Ali, the camp manager of the temporary shelter, said seeing the situation of their houses deteriorate over time by the weather condition in the city, he asked the ICRC for tarpaulins that would at least cover the holes for them to be habitable even during rainy moments, but the organization went beyond their request as much more were provided to them.

"The help they gave was big because what I asked for was just tarpaulins. They did not just give tarpaulin. They also gave nipa, bamboo, hammer, bolo, and nails. They also paid those who live in the house," he said in the vernacular.

Ali said two of their representatives per household were compensated by the ICRC for repairing their own homes within 10 days with the rate of PHP4,000 for the skilled worker or main carpenter and PHP3,000 for the unskilled worker or the helper.

He thanked the ICRC for establishing the water supply in the area.

Ali said since October 2017, the ICRC has already reached out to the IDPs.

"They already gave help through water supply and until now, they are still here. The ICRC is helping us. Of all that helped us, only ICRC did not leave us… I cannot pay (what they have done). Thank you so much to the ICRC. That is really the NGO that I am (most thankful for)," he said.

Maimona Ali, a resident of Bahay Pag-asa I, cited the longtime help of the ICRC.

Another resident, Ashira Palawan, expressed her satisfaction with the assistance provided by the ICRC, considering the hardship they went through after the siege and the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. (PNA)