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BANGSAMORO SPEAKS: Marawi Compensation Board: A commitment to restore lives and rebuild Marawi

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(Delivered by Ziaur-Rahman “Zia” Alonto Adiong, Representative of the 1st District of Lanao del Sur during the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 11696 or the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2022,  on 23 May 2023 at the Rizal Park in Marawi City. Alonto is also chair of the House of Representatives’ Special Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation and Recovery and chair of the House Oversight Committee on Marawi victims’ compensation)

Today, we celebrate an important milestone in our nation’s history—the establishment of the Marawi Compensation Board, as provided under Republic Act No. 11696, titled “An act providing compensation for the loss or destruction of properties and loss of lives as a result of the 2017 Marawi Siege, and appropriating funds therefor.” This momentous occasion signifies our unwavering commitment to restore the lives of our brothers and sisters affected by the tragic events that unfolded in Marawi City.

We are witnesses to the remarkable spirit of resilience, unity, and compassion displayed by the Maranao people in the face of unimaginable adversity. The Battle of Marawi forcibly uprooted thousands of Filipinos from their homes, culture, history, and very existence. The echoes of those dark days continue to reverberate through broken foundations and unmarked graves. The horror of a besieged city reduced to dust and rubble remains an open wound on our nation’s conscience.

Recognizing the immense challenges faced by the people of Marawi, the government took action by enacting Republic Act No. 116961, which established the Marawi Compensation Board. This legislation serves as a crucial step towards healing and rebuilding the lives of those affected by the conflict.

The Marawi Compensation Board has been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the just and fair distribution of compensation to the victims. Its mandate is to uphold their rights and provide the necessary support for them to rebuild their lives. It stands as a testament to our commitment to justice, human rights, and the well-being of our fellow citizens. It is a monument that assures Marawi and its plight will never be forgotten.

Under the provisions of Republic Act No. 116961, the Marawi Compensation Board has been empowered to evaluate and assess claims for compensation submitted by individuals who have suffered loss or damage to their properties, businesses, livelihoods, and personal well-being as a direct result of the conflict in Marawi. The Board will diligently consider each case, ensuring transparency, accountability, and impartiality throughout the process.

Moreover, the establishment of the Marawi Compensation Board goes beyond providing financial assistance. It serves as a platform to listen to the voices of the affected communities, allowing them to be heard, share their stories, and contribute to the rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi. Their insights, experiences, and aspirations will guide our actions as we work towards a brighter and more prosperous future for the victims of the Marawi Siege.

I assure you that the Marawi Compensation Board, composed of dedicated individuals with expertise in various relevant fields, will work tirelessly to ensure the efficient, fair, and sensitive implementation of the compensation process. They understand the needs and rights of the affected individuals and communities and are committed to addressing them.

As the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee on the Marawi Compensation Act, I consider it both my duty and privilege to lead my fellow legislators in overseeing, monitoring, and evaluating the comprehensive implementation of Republic Act No. 116961. My personal connection to the resilient city and its people, coupled with firsthand experiences of witnessing the devastation and actively participating in the rebuilding effort since day one, inform my deep commitment to this prestigious role.

With an unwavering dedication to justice and rehabilitation, our committee is determined to ensure the effective execution of the provisions outlined in the Marawi Compensation Act. We acknowledge the profound impact the Marawi siege has had on all our lives, and it is our responsibility to ensure the rights and needs of the affected individuals and communities are addressed.

In addition to our role in overseeing the implementation of the compensation act, our efforts have earned us the esteemed position of Chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation. This pivotal committee bears the responsibility of overseeing all legislative matters pertaining to the meticulous and strategic reconstruction of Marawi City—a symbol of resilience and hope in the face of adversity.

We express our heartfelt gratitude to the House leadership for entrusting us with these crucial responsibilities. With unwavering dedication and a deep sense of duty, we are committed to upholding the principles of transparency, accountability, and inclusivity as we navigate the intricate path towards the complete restoration and revitalization of Marawi City. By collaborating with all stakeholders, including government agencies, local communities, and affected residents, we aim to ensure that the spirit and future of Marawi City are never neglected or overshadowed. Together, we will forge ahead to rebuild a stronger, more vibrant Marawi that reflects the indomitable spirit and resilience of its people.

Let us remember that the establishment of the Marawi Compensation Board is just one aspect of our commitment to rebuilding Marawi and restoring the lives of those who have suffered. The road to recovery will be long and challenging, but we remain resolute in our determination to rebuild not only the physical infrastructure but also the social fabric of Marawi.

Together, as one nation united by our shared values and aspirations, we will rise above the ruins, hand in hand. We will honor the sacrifices made by the people of Marawi by ensuring that they receive the justice, support, and opportunities they deserve.

In conclusion, let us seize this moment to renew our collective pledge to the people of Marawi. Let us redouble our efforts to rebuild their lives and communities, guided by the principles of justice, compassion, and unity. With the establishment of the Marawi Compensation Board, we take a significant stride forward, heralding a brighter future for Marawi and our beloved nation.

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