CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A Moro group has called on the government to accelerate the efforts in rebuilding Marawi City after it lauded the approval of Republic Act (RA) 11696 or The Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2022.
“While we celebrate the signing of the compensation law, we believe this momentum must be sustained by addressing the equally relevant challenges, especially the issue of reconstruction and rehabilitation of the city,” said Marawi Advocacy Accompaniment (MAA), a network of Maranao leaders, internally displaced persons (IDPs), civil society organizations, and peacebuilders from Mindanao, in a statement Saturday, April 30.
RA 11696 seeks to provide monetary remuneration for those who perished and lost their properties due to the armed conflict between state forces and armed extremists in May 2017. This new law, according to MAA, is a landmark victory for the victims and survivors of the siege and a critical step towards ensuring Marawi City’s full recovery.
“Rebuilding the city must begin with rebuilding the lives of the displaced population by pursuing truth, justice and accountability within a transitional justice framework to comprehensively address the roots of conflict,” the group said as it raised several issues since the siege, five years ago.
It claimed that the residents’ demand for a safe and dignified return remain unfulfilled as thousands of IDPs are still in temporary shelter communities. Land conflict and dispossession continue to affect residents especially the four barangays within ‘ground zero’. It also shared that the construction of large-scale public infrastructures in the city are reportedly unfit for the needs of residents. Instead of repairing the houses and buildings, traffic lights, stadium, and roads are being built. There is also the issue of delivering justice to the innocent victims who are still unidentified until today.
MAA has criticized the government’s claim of accomplishment in rebuilding Marawi through the Task Force Bangon Marawi. It said the government’s rehabilitation and reconstruction program is “still proceeding at a very slow pace” which deprived the IDPs of much-needed opportunities for economic survival amid the pandemic period.
“The persistent delays coupled with the neglect of the voices of communities in the city’s ‘ground zero’ contribute further not only to the trauma still being endured by the bakwits but also to the centuries-old narrative of marginalization, discrimination, exclusion and social deprivation in Mindanao”, the group said. (davaotoday.com)