MARAWI CITY — The Marcos administration has vowed to fast track the provision of financial assistance to individuals affected by the 2017 Marawi siege, most of whom have lost their homes and other properties. 

This, as top national government officials visited this city to witness firsthand the applications for compensation claims filed with the Marawi Compensation Board (MCB) on Tuesday, July 18.

The government officially named the members of the MCB in January 2023.

“This government is firm in its commitment to ensure the recovery of Marawi and its long-term goal of safeguarding peace and order in Mindanao,” said Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo during a brief ceremony held here. 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said in a social media post on May 23, 2023  that his administration is determined to continue rebuilding the war-torn city, noting the Php 1 billion had already been allotted to the victims of the siege.

“Our administration stands resolute in our commitment to their welfare, demonstrated through reconstruction efforts and the allocation of P1 billion for displaced individuals and victims who have endured the loss of their homes and possessions,” Marcos stressed. 

The long-road to recovery

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has vowed to provide the necessary support to the nine-man MCB, as it carries out its mandate of granting monetary compensation to victims.

“The rehabilitation and recovery of Marawi City is a project that is close to my heart as a fellow Maranaoan,” said Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman during a meeting with MCB chairperson Maisarah Dandamun-Latiph at the DBM office in Manila last February.

The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 11696 or the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act, grants private property owners compensation based on the sum of the current market value of the land and the replacement cost of structures and improvements.

The law mandates the filing of claims for compensation with the MCB within one year after the body has been duly organized in accordance with its IRR.

The MCB officially started operations on July 4, 2023, with the acceptance of applications for compensation claims scheduled to run until July 3, 2024.

Failure to file an application within the one-year period shall be deemed a waiver of the right to file the same, according to RA 11696.

In her message, Damdamun-Latiph underscored the importance of RA 11696, particularly on the national government’s ongoing rehabilitation efforts in Marawi. 

“This momentous occasion represents a very crucial step towards, justice, healing, and restoration of dignity to those affected by the devastating armed conflict. Today we shall see a ray of hope that Marawi will rise up and come back great again. We hope people will reclaim their lives, dreams, excitement, and joy,” she said. 

“The law is the product of the hard work and dedication of men and women who believe in justice and restoring the honor and dignity of people ravaged by war. With his (President Marcos Jr.) directive and mandate, we now know that we have the full faith and support of the President to successfully deliver our objectives in a proper and timely manner,” Damdamun-Latiph added. 


Unwavering support of the government

Meanwhile, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who co-sponsored the Republic Act 11696 or the Marawi Siege Compensations Act of 2022, believes that the law’s implementation would help uplift the lives of those affected by the siege.

“I can assure you that the grant of compensation to the victims of the destructive terroristic act will not be the end of government efforts to give the quality lives that the people of Marawi deserve,” Dela Rosa said.

For Senator Robinhood Padilla, Marawi City is now on its road to recovery, which makes the compensation law a crucial component of the national government’s rehabilitation efforts.

“Alam ko na hindi matutumbasan ng anumang kabayaran ang nawala sa bawat isa sa inyo. Gayunpaman, atin sanang ituring ang kompensasyong ito bilang tugon sa sugat at pagsilip sa kinabukasan ng muling pag-usbong ng Marawi,” he stressed.

According to Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mohammad Khalid Adiong, the law will enable residents to rebuild their lives, as he urged all claimants to be truthful when presenting details of their claims.

“I encourage the claimants to be truthful in their declaration as appearing on their verified claims application forms. As Muslims, you have to remember that you are accountable not only under the law but before the Almighty,” Adiong said.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra, for his part, thanked everyone who helped his city recover from the crisis.

“We would like to thank the government agencies involved especially the Office of the President, Department of Budget and Management, Task Force Bangon Marawi, and our senators and congress people for being so supportive for this. Kung hindi dahil sa inyo, malamang ang mga sugat ng nakaraan para sa mamamayan ng Marawi City ay hindi mabibigyan ng pagkakataong humilom,” Gandamra said.

Even though rehabilitation in the city remains on track, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Assistant Secretary in-charge for TFBM Melissa Aradanas still believes that Marawi City will only be able to fully recover if all the residents can return to their former homes at ground zero.

“While much progress as shown by the completion of numerous facilities inside the most affected area, the safe return of many internally displaced persons to the MAA much more remains underway,” in her speech delivered by Task Force Bangon Marawi Manager, Felix J. Castro Jr.


Increased focus on social healing and peacebuilding

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) continues to carry out peacebuilding interventions that are anchored on the national government’s whole-of-government approach wherein all stakeholders are involved in the process.

According to Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Carlito G. Galvez Jr, the agency, through its Social Healing and Peacebuilding (SHAPE) Program, is focused on implementing healing and reconciliation interventions “by creating platforms to enhance, strengthen, and encourage the meaningful participation of society’s most vulnerable sectors, which include women and the youth.”

“This convergence of efforts among our stakeholders, which include NGA’s, local government units, civil society organizations,  academe, security sector and the international donor community, is therefore crucial in the rehabilitation and recovery of areas that have been affected by the armed conflict and terrorism such as Marawi,” he said.

Galvez also emphasized the need for the academic community to play a more active role in preventing and countering violent extremism, as well as promoting the culture of peace in communities.

“With the OPAPRU’s expanded mandate, we are intensifying our efforts to mainstream peace education at the basic and higher level curriculums. We have also been holding consultations with leaders in the academic community to gather inputs which we shall integrate into a proposed Executive Order that seeks to strengthen EO 570,” he added. END