Former ARMM governor fears Marawi rehab could be forgotten
MANILA, Philippines — Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman on Wednesday expressed fears that the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City may be forgotten if it will not be completed within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte, citing that it wasn’t even mentioned during the latter’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Hataman, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, lamented what he claimed was the slow rehabilitation efforts of Marawi City three years after the siege.
“Ang pangamba ko nga diyan — nangangamba nga ako at ang ibang mga kasama natin lalong lalo na ang mga kakilala natin sa Marawi — kapag hindi natapos ito sa panunungkulan ng ating Pangulo, baka tuluyan nang makalimutan ang rehabilitation sa Marawi,” he said.
(My fear is that, and this is shared by some of my colleagues, especially those I know from Marawi, if the Marawi rehabilitation will not be finished in the term of the President, it would be completely forgotten.)
While civil society organizations told him that procurement processes are ongoing, the lawmaker noted that these funds are mostly allotted for rebuilding public infrastructure in the city.
He noted that residents who lost their houses need help, too.
“Marami rin naman talagang nabanggit ang ating Pangulo pero isa sa napuna ko at medyo malapit sa ating interes at sa interes ng mga kapatid nating Muslim, ‘yung interes ng Marawi, kung kailan ba ito matatapos at pursigido ba itong tapusin,” he said.
(The President mentioned a lot of things but I noticed that he did not mention something within my interest and the interest of our Muslim brothers—the rehabilitation of Marawi, when will it be completed, and if they are decided to finish it.)
“Maraming beses na rin tayong nangako na matatapos this year, next year, pero ngayon syempre 5th Sona na ng ating Pangulo, kailan ito matatapos?” he also asked.
(There have been a lot of promises that it will be completed this year or next year, but now that the 5th Sona of the President has passed, when will it be finished?)
The lawmaker also warned that terrorists may take advantage of the slow process of rebuilding Marawi and point at the government for destroying the houses in the city through airstrikes against the ISIS-inspired Maute militants who launched the attack.
“Kaya ginagawa nating advocacy na paalalahanan ang gobyerno or even ang ating Pangulo na mahalaga ito, na dapat itong ma-address sa madaling panahon lalo’t lalo na na dalawang taon na lang ang Pangulo,” he said.
(That’s why we have made it our advocacy to remind the government and the President that this is important, that this should be addressed immediately especially since he only has two years left in his term.)
“Baka siya na lang ang natatanging pag-asa natin na marehabilitate. Paano kung ‘yung papalit na administrasyon biglang sabihin na, ‘ay hindi naman kami ang may gawa niyan kaya wala kaming pakialam diyan’?” he added.
(He might be the only hope to rehabilitate Marawi. What if the administration that will replace him will suddenly say that they were not the ones responsible for that so they won’t care about it?)
Hataman also urged the government to fast-track the passage of the compensation bill at the House of Representatives that seeks to compensate victims of the 2017 Marawi siege, to prevent terrorists from taking advantage of the sentiment of the residents and use it as a propaganda against the government.
In separate tweets on Tuesday, a day after Duterte’s Sona, Hataman said he hopes the Marawi rehabilitation will also be given a deadline like how Duterte warned telecommunication companies Globe and Smart of expropriation if it will not improve its services by yearend.
Sana binigyan na rin ng taning ang Marawi rehab katulad ng pagbibigay ng taning sa Smart and Globe.
— Mujiv Hataman (@HatamanMujiv) July 28, 2020
He also said the government should prioritize the compensation bill first before pushing for the death penalty, which was also mentioned by Duterte in his Sona. The President said he wants capital punishment through lethal injection “for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.”
Sana unahin na muna natin ang Compensation Bill ng Marawi bago ang death penalty.#SONA2020
— Mujiv Hataman (@HatamanMujiv) July 28, 2020
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.