MANILA - House Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman on Monday urged his fellow lawmakers to act on the Marawi Compensation Bill, which will provide much-needed funds for the further rebuilding and rehabilitation of Marawi.
"Sobrang tagal na nito. Ang dami nang ibang sakuna ang dumating, pero parang laging inihuhuli sa pila ang Marawi," Hataman said in a statement, adding that the rehabilitation of Marawi has yet to fully commence after almost four years.
(It has been a long time. There has been a lot of calamities that happened, but it seems like Marawi has always been the least priority.)
Hataman also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to certify the bill as urgent.
"Huling SONA na ni Pangulong Duterte ngayong 2021. Sana maipasa na ito para naman makasama sa legacy niya ang pagsasaayos ng Marawi. Nananawagan ako sa pangulo bilang ama ng bayan, bilang isang taga-Mindanao at bilang isang may dugong Moro. Sana po ay ma-certify itong compensation bill as urgent," Hataman, who used to be the governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said.
(This will be President Duterte's last SONA. I hope the bill gets passed so it the rehabilitation of Marawi will be part of his legacy. I appeal to the president, as the father of the nation, as a Mindanaoan, and as someone who has Moro blood. I hope this bill gets certified as urgent.)
Hataman likewise said that as the deliberations for the 2022 national budget nears, passing the measure is a must so that the Congress can include funds for the victims of the 2017 Marawi siege.
The measure has passed committee level in the House of Representatives, and a counterpart bill is still pending in the Senate.
“Kung di natin i-prioritize itong compensation bill, baka hindi na maharap ng Kongreso at Senado bago mapasa ang 2022 budget, at matabunan na naman ng ibang usapin tulad ng Charter Change at ng extension ng transition period ng BARMM,” Hataman said.
(If we don't prioritize the compensation bill, it might not be discussed in Congress and Senate before the 2022 budget is passed, and it might be set aside for other issues like charter change and the extension of the BARMM transition period.)
He also called attention to government funds that may expire due to lack of implementation.
"Ang dami nang pondong nag-expire; sayang, dahil kung naitutok natin ‘yun sa mga proyekto para makabangon ang Marawi, baka kahit papaano nakauwi na ang ibang residente at nagkaroon ng kaunting pag-asa over the past years," Hataman said.
(A lot of the funds have already expires. It's a pity since these could have been used for the rehabilitation of Marawi, at least some residents could have gone back to their homes, and they could be hopeful over the past years.)
Responding to the presence of Islamic State-linked militants in Marawi City on May 23, 2017, government forces launched massive offensives while Martial Law was declared in the entire Mindanao. The war left at least 1,000 people killed, including terrorists, soldiers and civilians, and displaced hundreds of thousands.
In September 2020, the House Committee on Disaster Resilience, chaired by Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez (4th District, Leyte), approved the proposed "Marawi Siege Compensation Act".
The measure seeks to provide monetary reparation for the destruction of residential houses, commercial buildings, and other properties in Marawi City, as well as in affected areas in Lanao del Sur during the 5-month siege in 2017.