At least 94 congressmen have signed as co-authors of the bill providing compensation to the people of Marawi City who have been suffering from the effects of the siege in 2017.
Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, one of the primary authors of House Bill 3543 or the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act, and Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan said the support to the measure made up more than 30 percent of the chamber.
“Our fellow legislators believe there should be a measure that will provide compensation to the people of Marawi City who have suffered enough from the effects of the siege two years back,” Hataman, a former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said.
Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez was among the lawmakers who sought co-authorship of the Marawi compensation measure.
Hataman said the bill’s enactment was of utmost importance as the people of Marawi City commemorates the second anniversary of the liberation of the city from violent extremists on Oct. 17.
However, a legislator who requested anonymity said the people of Marawi, “except for a few,” should not be given compensation because of their involvement in the siege.
He said the “majority of the people there, either through acquiescence or active participation, were instrumental in the bringing in of weapons that were finally used on them.”
The congressman said many residents even helped bring in heavy weapons “piece by piece” because they had relatives in the Maute Group.
“And just because they were victimized by the very same group that they help we will compensate them? Better yet, those found to have actively supported the bandits should be prosecuted,” the legislator said.
Hataman also said the proposal to create a House sub-committee on Marawi under the House Committee on Disaster Management had been met with a favorable response from the House leadership.
He said he, along with Sangcopan, met with civil society organizations in Marawi a few weeks ago, where they asked them to close ranks and speak in “one strong and loud voice” for a meaningful impact in the rehabilitation efforts.
Among the concerns raised during last month’s meeting was the ongoing demolition of damaged structures in Marawi and the case of missing civilians.
HB 3543 is currently making the rounds in the House of Representatives to gather more signatures.