Compensation board struggles as Marawi siege claims exceed budget

Froilan Gallardo

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Compensation board struggles as Marawi siege claims exceed budget

CLAIMS. Marawi residents start submitting claims at the Marawi Compensation Office in Barangay Marinaut West, Marawi City on Tuesday, July 18, 2023.

Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

The board receives claims amounting to nearly P1 billion in a single day alone from residents who suffered losses during the five-month Marawi siege

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Marawi Compensation Board (MCB) appealed for more funds as it started work to compensate hundreds of thousands of Maranaos who survived the 2017 Marawi siege.

The board is grappling with the task of efficiently allocating a constrained budget to address a wide array of claims, and given that the number of claimants exceeds the available funds.

At the start of the submission of compensation claims alone, the board received claims amounting to nearly P1 billion from residents who suffered losses during the five-month fighting between government forces and the Daesh-inspired Maute group.

MCB chairperson Maisara Dandamun-Latiph said some 2,013 Maranaos submitted claims estimated to reach P800 million on July 4 alone when the board opened its doors to claimants.
The claims made on a single day alone already accounted for 80% of the P1 billion the government set aside.

The MCB has estimated that the Marawi siege adversely affected about 100,000 Marawi residents.
No one has been paid yet as the claims were still being subjected to evaluation and validation.

One of the first biggest claimants was Yasir Naga, a former member of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the now-defunct Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), who sought P53 million for the destruction of their family-owned Pacasum College, an ancestral house, and a commercial building.

“In Marawi City, there are many families like Naga’s who lost their properties in 2017, and all of them are seeking compensation. There are small property owners who lost their buildings too. Clearly, the P1-billion compensation fund would not be enough to cover the expenses,” Latiph told the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee on the Marawi rehabilitation.

She pointed out that “on July 4 alone, we processed the claims for P800 million in one single day.”

The MCB has sought a larger allocation in the 2024 budget from Congress.

Based on Republic Act 116961, also known as the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2022, the government provided a tax-free P1-billion compensation fund to pay Marawi residents who lost properties or had family members killed as a result of the fighting.

Latip said they have so far received 21 claims from families who lost members in the fighting. Government figures set the number of civilians killed in the fighting at 1,000.

She said heirs of those killed were entitled to receive a compensation of P350,000 each.
Latiph stressed that the board has not made a payment for the claims filed in their office.

“The money is still intact with the Department of Budget and Management Office. We have not even started reviewing those claims yet,” Latiph said.

Lanao del Sur 1st District Representative Zia Alonto Adiong said members of the ad hoc committee were seriously considering granting the request of the MCB for additional funding and has taken steps to talk to Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez about it. –

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