(File photo)

MANILA – The amount of PHP1 billion has been set aside to compensate residents of Marawi City who lost private properties during the 2017 siege, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said on Sunday.

“The allocation for the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Fund has been included in the 2023 national budget,” Pimentel said. “The item is lodged in the PHP31-billion Calamity Fund for next year.”

The reparation fund is pursuant to the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Law of 2022, or Republic Act 11696, according to Pimentel.

The lawmaker from Mindanao said the PHP1 billion would be used to provide tax-free compensation to:

* Lawful owners of residential, commercial and other properties, including cultural structures, destroyed or damaged, either totally or partially, on the occasion of the Marawi siege; and

* Owners of private properties demolished in accordance with the Marawi Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program.

“We expect the compensation payout to rev up reconstruction activities in Marawi by private property owners,” Pimentel said.

“The private rebuilding activities in turn will have a multiplier effect on the local economy in terms of creating new jobs and income that tend to benefit low-income households,” he added.

Under the law, the compensation fund also covers owners of mosques, madaris, schools, colleges, hospitals and other health facilities destroyed or damaged.

It also covers “other properties” such as home appliances, jewelry, machineries, rice mills and other equipment of value.

The Marawi siege refers to the armed conflict between government security forces and terrorist groups in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur in 2017.

The five-month siege left Marawi in ruins, with 95 percent of the structures within the “main affected areas” of 24 barangays either heavily damaged or totally collapsed, due to sustained aerial and artillery bombardment.

The conflict dislocated over 200,000 of the city’s civilian population. (PR)