A watchdog group focused on the Marawi reconstruction called on President Rodrigo Duterte to prioritize the Marawi Compensation Bill, pointing out that there were no plans for Mindanao during his 5th State of the Nation Address.

The Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch (MRCW) said in a statement on Wednesday, July 29, that while Duterte called financial subsidies, easier loans, and rental reforms as part of measures to revive the pandemic-wracked economy, he did not discuss the “promised yet much delayed” compensation to stimulate the Marawi economy ravaged by the 2017 siege.    

The Marawi Compensation Bill was filed in 2019 to provide for repayment for the loss or destruction of properties in Marawi City due to the Marawi siege. The bill remains pending in Congress. 

The MRCW also questioned how the president could launch a Balik-Probinsya program and form new economic zones but not a Balik-Marawi program to stop deaths and diseases in the refugee camps in Mindanao.

“The president elucidated plans for national recovery and resilience that he wants to pursue for all Filipinos. But what about the Maranao who have been waiting for three fruitless years – way before the pandemic and its consequent economic crisis?” the group said in a statement. 

“We are one with all Filipinos in desiring a quicker release from the health and economic crisis we all face. But how can we trust your word or believe your promises when you have not honored your promises to us?” the MRCW said. Jessica Ivy A. Zapata