By Zaldy De Layola
MANILA – Deputy Minority Leader and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman said Sunday he is hoping the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) would live up to its word to increase the Marawi Compensation Fund (MCF) from PHP1 billion to PHP5 billion as proposed in the 2024 national budget.
He said if the DBM will fulfill its commitment, it will be a great achievement in favor of the Marawi siege victims who have been waiting for more than six years to have their houses reconstructed.
Hataman said he also got a commitment from the DBM that the PHP1 billion allocation for 2023 will be released next week.
He said, however, it is not enough compared to the number of families affected by the siege.
“Hindi talaga kasya ang PHP1 bilyon sa isang taon. Tandaan natin, limang taon lang ang binigay natin sa Marawi Compensation Board (MCB) para matapos ang pagbabayad sa mga biktima sa Marawi. Kaya mahalaga na madagdagan ang pondong kanilang ipapamahagi (PHP1 billion a year is really not enough. Remember, we only gave five years to the Marawi Compensation Board to complete the payment to the Marawi siege victims. So, it’s important to have additional funds for distribution),” he added.
On the last day of the House plenary budget deliberations on Wednesday, budget sponsor Rep. Franciso Jose Matugas of Surigao del Norte’s First District told Hataman that the DBM will release next week PHP1 billion to compensate around 362 claimants.
The MCB, Matugas said, has already submitted its request to download the PHP1 billion MCF for 2023 and it is ready for release.
The MCB said it received 4,762 claims worth PHP17.46 billion from July 4 to Aug. 31.
A five-month war between Islamic State-inspired local terrorists and the government security forces from May to October 2017 left Marawi City in ruins and displaced hundreds of thousands of people at the height of the conflict. (PNA)