Police dispersed a rally staged by Maranaos, displaced due to the 2017 Marawi siege, clamoring for compensations from the government in the predominantly Muslim city on Wednesday, November 24.
Drieza Liningding, Moro Consensus Group chair, said the police came as an estimated 500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were starting their rally at Kilometer Zero, Marawi City.
“The police took our tarps and placards, and threatened the IDPs with detention,” Liningding said.
He said the police told them they were violating COVID-19 health protocols by rallying without a permit from the city government.
Not wanting trouble, Drieza said, they decided not to continue the rally, and advised the IDPs to go home peacefully.
He said the IDPs went out to demand that the Senate pass its version of the Marawi Compensation Bill before time runs out because of the 2022 elections.
The House of Representatives earlier passed its version, House Bill no. 9925, allowing Marawi private property owners to be compensated for their losses based on the current market value.
The Senate version is still on the second reading in the plenary despite assurances from Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, chair of the Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation.
Maranao sultan Hamidullah Atar, head of Reconciliation Initiatives for Development Opportunities (RIDO), said the bill should be passed during this administration, otherwise the next President will shoulder the burden.
“We also do not know the attitude of the new President. Will he or she see Marawi as an important issue?” Atar said.
Task Force Bangon Marawi head Eduardo del Rosario, secretary of the Department of Humans Settlements and Urban Development, said they have finished constructing 75% to 85% of government infrastructure projects in the bombed-out Marawi.
Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra said city hall has also approved 1,113 of the 2,272 applications from landowners who wanted to rebuild.
Del Rosario said the passage of the Marawi Compensation Bill is needed because the government has no money for the construction of private houses and buildings destroyed by the fighting.
In its May 2020 report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said 120,000 Marawi residents were displaced and needed protection and support.
The UNHCR report said the COVID-19 pandemic also heightened the risk of the Maranao families and their communities because of limited access to hygiene facilities like water that is difficult to come by in the transitory shelters. – Rappler.com
Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship