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Thursday, November 30, 2023

P1B set aside for victims of Marawi siege

At least P1 billion has been set aside to compensate residents of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur who lost private property during the 2017 siege, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said Sunday.

“The allocation for the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Fund has been included in the 2023 national budget,” he said.

“The item is lodged in the P31-billion Calamity Fund for next year,” he added.

The reparation fund is pursuant to the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Law of 2022, or Republic Act No. 11696.

Pimentel said the P1-billion fund would be used to provide tax-free compensation to lawful owners of residential, commercial and other properties, including cultural structures, destroyed or damaged during 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,” he 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 said.

Under the law, the compensation fund also covers owners of mosques, madaris, schools, colleges, hospitals and other health facilities destroyed or damaged as well as other properties such as home appliances, jewelry, machineries, rice mills and other equipment of value.

In 2017, government troops clashed with terrorist groups who overran Marawi City.

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 destroyed due to sustained aerial and artillery bombardment.

An estimated 1,200 people died during the battle. While most of these were armed extremists, Amnesty International reported that the militants took civilians as hostages and carried out extrajudicial killings. A number of civilians who were killed during the siege remain unidentified.

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

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