Justice remains elusive for Marawi City residents

This article is available in PilipinoBisayaHiligaynon

A few weeks before the 7-year anniversary of the bombing by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Marawi City, residents staged a protest to demand the extremely delayed justice. On May 13, residents who have yet to return to their communities gathered at Rizal Park in the city.

They condemned the Marawi Compensation Board (MCB) for shortchanging the compensation they deserve to rebuild their destroyed houses and properties. Instead of giving them sufficient funds, the MCB came up with a new “method” of calculating damages deducting their properties’ depreciation cost (decrease in value of property due to age or damages). The older the house, the greater the deduction and thus lower compensation. In line with this, a claimant’s mandated compensation will automatically be slashed by 60% to 85% if the property has been standing for a minimum of 10 years before being bombed by the AFP.

This runs counter to the procedure earlier prescribed in the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act. This law stipulates compensation based on the “fair market value” resulting from consultations with claimants, or the “replacement cost” or “repair cost” of completely destroyed or partially damaged residential, cultural and commercial buildings. The MCB does not have the authority to change the calculation standards already stated in the law, the protesters said.

The national government will need to allocate at least an estimated ₱5 billion per year to compensate all those damaged by the AFP. The MCB will exist for only five years, after which the victims will receive nothing.

Justice remains elusive for Marawi City residents