By Ben Rosario
The snail-paced implementation of the Marawi rehabilitation program can be a factor that will push for another ISIS-inspired siege and this time, the civilian population might be passive and easily give up.
This is the scenario painted by partylist Reps. Amihilda Sangcopan (AMIN Partylist) and Michael Aglipay (DIWA Partylist) in Muslim Mindanao as they urged government to nudge Bangon Marawi implementors to act swiftly in the rehabilitation of the city nearly destroyed during the Maute siege in 2017.
Appearing as guest panelist at the Partylist Forum, Sangcopan complained that budget released by government for the city’s rehabilitation has been drastically reduced even as plans to restore normalcy appeared to be unacceptable to the civilian population.
“I think that will be a factor, so what we need now is to show our sincerity in helping the displaced population in Marawi and immediately carry out the restoration and rehabilitation program,” said Sangcopan when asked whether the slow government action might push ISIS groups to lay siege in other areas.
Aglipay warned that inaction or slow action on the party of officials and agencies tasked to the Marawi City rebuild could jeopardize security in Muslim Mindanao.
“Everyday na may delay dito, naaapektuhan hindi lamang ang mga taga-Marawi, kundi pati ang mga kapatid na Muslim sa lugar. Baka mamaya maimpluwensyahan lamang sila ng ibang grupo na gumawa ng terroristic act,” said Aglipay. (Everyday that there is delay, it will affect not only Marawi folks but also other Muslims in the area. There is a possibility that some groups might influence them to stage terroristic act).
Sangcopan said the snail paced progress in the Bangong Marawi programs can be overcome with the passage of the Marawi compensation bill which proposes at least P50 billion in government funds as reparations for victims of the 2017 siege.
“This compensation bill is the remaining hope we have in order to make up for [or] compensate for the loss of lives and destruction brought about by the Maute attack,” she said.
Four Muslim legislators, including Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, co-authored the legislative proposal.
Sangcopan also called on the House of Representatives to exercise oversight powers over the Bangon Marawi program to address the sluggish implementation of its program to rebuild the city.