Marawi siege

Thousands still displaced as Marawi siege reparations fall short

Froilan Gallardo

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Thousands still displaced as Marawi siege reparations fall short

AID FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN. Children belonging to displaced families flock around volunteers handing out school materials in Marawi City on May 23, 2024.

Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

Many of Marawi’s more than 200,000 displaced residents are still living in villages and temporary shelters outside the predominantly Muslim city, says Moro Consensus Group leader Drieza Lininding

MARAWI, Philippines – Thousands of displaced Marawi residents, affected by the five-month-long fighting between the government and the extremist Maute Group seven years ago, have yet to return and rebuild, and are still living miserably in villages and temporary shelters outside Marawi.

Months since the government started releasing reparation funds to Maranao families who lost loved ones, houses, and their other properties, the payment scheme is beset by complaints.

The reparations are based on the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2022 that is being implemented by a board.

RUINS. A section of Marawi City remain in ruins on April 27, 2022. Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

“The reparation money paid by the Marawi Compensation Board for properties and houses is not enough considering the cost of construction materials and inflation today,” said Drieza Lininding, head of the local civil society group Moro Consensus Group (MCG).

Liningding said this is one of the reasons why the 24 barangays in Marawi’s “most affected area,” where the ISIS-inspired Maute group made their last stand, remain uninhabited.

He said many residents cannot afford to pay for the reconstruction of their properties and houses despite the government reparations.

Many of Marawi’s more than 200,000 residents are still living in villages and temporary shelters outside the predominantly Muslim city, Lininding added.

Fatma Baraocor, a claimant, said she rejected a P200,000-compensation from the MCB to repair her house in Barangay East Marinaut, where some of the heaviest fighting occurred.

“The prices of cement, gravel, and building materials have increased since my house was damaged seven years ago,” Baraocor said.

Lininding pointed out that the problem arose when the compensation board – established to handle claims filed by people whose homes were destroyed or damaged during the fighting – adopted the real estate assessment made by the Lanao del Sur local government as the basis for payment.

“The appraisal was already too low considering today’s prices of construction materials,” Lininding said.

MCB Chairperson Maisara Dandamun-Latiph said the board decided to adopt the Lanao del Sur provincial government’s appraisal instead of the Marawi City government’s because the former would mean higher payments.

In January, MCB Board Member Mabandes Diron said the government would pay P35,000 per square meter for any concrete building destroyed or damaged and about half of that amount for wooden houses.

Diron said those who lost relatives in the fighting are eligible for a compensation package of P350,000 each.

Clothing, Hat, Person
A Marawi family shares a dilapidated room, on May 23, 2024. A gaping hole in a wall of their room provides a stark reminder of the bloody siege that transformed the city into a wasteland. Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

MCB secretary Sittie Raifah Pamaloy-Hassan said the MCB has so far processed application papers of 20,000 claimants since January.

Of the claims, 379 cases were death claims for relatives killed during the fighting.

She said the MCB has paid more than P175 million for claims approved after rigorous scrutiny.

Lanao del Sur 1st District Representative Zia Alonto Adiong said a joint congressional oversight committee, which he co-chairs with Senator Ronald de la Rosa, will review the 2022 compensation law to see how they can better help the affected residents.

Adiong said the government has so far set aside about P2 billion as reparations for those who were adversely affected during the five-month battle in 2017. –

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