Compensation board needed to ensure Marawi rehab – solon
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should establish the Marawi Compensation Board immediately to ensure that the rehabilitation of the war-torn city would continue.
Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong presented the idea in a privilege speech during Monday’s session of the House of Representatives.
Creating the board, Adiong said, would be crucial, being a requirement before the Marawi Siege Compensation Act of 2022 (Republic Act No. 11696) could be implemented.
According to Adiong, the law states that board members are required to have “a strong understanding of the compensation as a result of rights recognition — both under Philippine law and international law.”
All of the nine members of the board should be appointed by the president.
“On this note, we respectfully appeal to the president to consider the immediate constitution of the Marawi Compensation Board, and the appointment of its nine members, in accordance with the qualifications laid out in the Marawi Compensation Act,” Adiong said.
He added explained that, since the start of the rehabilitation of Marawi, residents had been requesting for a reclassification of lands to their rightful owners or communities that had been in Marawi City for several generations.
“While we acknowledge the ongoing efforts of the Department of Agrarian Reform towards the distribution of lands in Camp Keithley to identified farmer-beneficiaries in the area, there is also a need to account for traditions and cultural sensibilities that are distinct to the people of Marawi City and their relationship to land,” Adiong said.
Over the years, there have been stories about Marawi residents who left their houses, having lost their rights to their land when the Islamic State sympathizers of the Maute Group laid siege to the city in May 2017.
In July 2021, the Philippine Daily Inquirer ran a story about a group of Marawi residents who decried the government’s decision to allegedly “sequester” at least 16 hectares of land in four villages inside ground zero without their consent.
Lawyer Ibrahim Mimbalawag, a Marawi resident and one of the affected landowners, said in the report that several residents could not return to their villages as the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the city government had allocated the area for infrastructure projects to rehabilitate the country’s lone Islamic city.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte blamed this issue as the reason for the slow rehabilitation of Marawi. The city was cleaned up by military units by October 2017, but a lot of displaced residents have not returned to the city.
Adiong meanwhile appealed to President Marcos to consider the plight of the people in Marawi.
“Land is central to the rehabilitation and recovery of Marawi City, and Task Force Bangon Marawi in its latest report, particularly in the section regarding harmonization of land records, recognizes just as much. Marawi City’s total land area nearly covers 9,000 hectares – more than two-thirds of which has been classified as a military reservation since the Americans built their first camp in the area during the 1900s,” he said.
“Along with the legal implications, we humbly appeal to the president to consider the lived realities of the Meranao people as the executive branch pursues the continued reclassification and redistribution of lands in Marawi City,” he added.
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