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MORE COMPENSATION FOR MARAWI SIEGE VICTIMS PUSHED

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa has warned that the P1 billion proposed allocation to fund the compensation of Marawi siege victims next year may trigger potential trouble as the amount won’t be sufficient for claimant-beneficiaries.

Dela Rosa, the vice chairperson of the Senate finance committee, aired his fear during the briefing given to the Senate by the Development Budget Coordinating Committee on the 2023 proposed National Expenditure Program (NEP).

Under the 2023 NEP, only P1 billion is allocated for the Marawi Siege Compensation Fund to be used for the compensation to any lawful owner of residential, cultural, commercial structures, and other properties in Marawi’s Main Affected Areas or Other Affected Areas destroyed or damaged, either totally or partially, on the occasion of the Marawi Siege, and for owners of private properties demolished pursuant to the implementation of the Marawi Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction Program.

The chairperson of the Senate Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation and Victims’ Compensation emphasized that the P1 billion budget for 2023 may be exploited by extremists to create hatred toward the government.

“Nasusundan ko po ang mga development nito and ang takot ko lang nito ay kapag dumagsa yung mga claimants doon, P1 billion is not enough…pwede na naman ito gawing issue sa ating ng mga, alam mo na, ‘yung mga extremists,” the legislator said.

“Magiging breeding ground na naman uli itong Marawi for radicalization by exploiting this issue.”

“Magiging breeding ground na naman uli itong Marawi for radicalization by exploiting this issue na napabayaan sila na ilang taon na silang hindi nakabalik sa kanilang bahay because problema nga nitong compensation na hinihintay nila para ma-reconstruct nila o ma-rebuild uli nila ‘yung kanilang negosyo doon sa Marawi City,” the lawmaker added.

Before Republic Act 11696 or the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act was signed into law, Congress had estimated the needed amount to be around P30 billion.

The senator said that before Republic Act 11696 or the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act was signed into law last April by then President Rodrigo Duterte, Congress, during its deliberation of the measure, had estimated the needed amount to be around P30 billion.

“Ang akin lang is just moving forward… This P1 billion is not enough. So, mayroon ka bang plano kung mayroon kang makukunan kung maso-short tayo sa P1 billion? Kasi alam mo na ‘yung mga kababayan natin doon ay matagal naghintay nito. Sigurado ako ‘pag ma-create na ‘yung (compensation) board at tatakbo na ‘yung board, mag-operationalize na ‘yung board, sigurado ako dadagdsain ito (ng beneficiaries)… mawawala yan (P1 billion) kaagad,” he asked Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman.

Pangandaman replied that the Senate committee may provide additional funds for the compensation budget.

Senator Sonny Angara, chairperson of the finance panel, said additional money can be given later when the need arises.

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