Marawi residents to gov’t: Unreleased donations deprive us of basic needs

Sofia Tomacruz
Marawi residents to gov’t: Unreleased donations deprive us of basic needs
'It is so frustrating to learn that two years after the Marawi siege...internally displaced persons are still struggling for their everyday survival,' says Moro Consensus Group chairperson Drieza Lininding

MANILA, Philippines – Displaced Marawi City residents slammed the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) for unused cash donations which were supposed to provide them aid, saying they have been deprived of the chance to improve their lives.

Moro Consensus Group chairperson Drieza Lininding said on Monday, June 3, that residents were pained to learn that only P10,000 of the P36.92 million in donations has been used for a lone individual.

Many residents remain unable to return to their homes, two years since the siege in 2017.

“It is so frustrating to learn that two years after the Marawi siege, about a hundred thousand internally displaced persons are still struggling for their everyday survival. Worse, the donations supposedly intended to help thousands of victims of the Marawi siege have benefited only one,” Lininding said.

In its 2018 audit report on the OCD, the Commission on Audit (COA) found that less than .03% of the total funds donated for Marawi residents and the city’s rehabilitation were released.

State auditors said poor utilization of funds “defeated the purpose of donation, and the good intention of the donors for human consideration was not fully served.”

COA said it is also unlikely that residents will be able to receive assistance from these donations as government rules say claims can only be made by victims within a year from the time of the calamity or disaster.

Lininding said the unused funds “deprived” thousands of displaced residents who lacked access to basic needs. She said the money could have been used for the following:

  • Medical assistance
  • Proper documentation of the missing and the dead, including those injured during the 5-month war
  • Rehabilitation of the Maqbara Muslim cemetery
  • Burial assistance
  • Relief assistance

Residents urged the government to use the remaining P36.91 million worth of donations and asked for more transparency in the allocation of funds intended for the war-torn city.

Frustrated residents earlier asked Task Force Bangon Marawi chairman Eduardo del Rosario to resign if he would not be able to fulfill his promise that residents may be able to return home in 2019. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.