Sen Alan pushes higher valuation for just compensation for Marawi Siege victims, restoration of their pre-war lives

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday advocated for just compensation for the victims of the 2017 Marawi Siege, expressing support for restoring their pre-war status.

This statement followed a meeting on May 21, 2024 of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) of the Senate, presided over by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, with key government agencies. The meeting focused on the progress of rebuilding war-torn Marawi City.

“The point of compensation is to return them to their situation before the Marawi war,” Cayetano said during his discussion with Atty. Maisarah Damdamun-Latiph, Chairperson of the Marawi Compensation Board (MCB).

“So if they built their house and it was worth P3 million ten years before the Marawi Siege, and then at the Marami Siege it was at P15 million, I have to give them the equivalent of P15 million now to return them to their status before the war because that is just compensation,” he added.

Cayetano empathized with the displaced Marawi victims, who are still enduring the recovery process, and highlighted the challenge of determining the “fair market value” of their homes.

“Kung ako ay nag-ipon or three generations minana ko y’ung bahay na worth P5 million noong binomba, then you will now only give me P5 million and i can only build half of that house, I will feel na doble ang injustice para sa akin. Binomba na kami, ganyan pa ang trato niyo sa amin,” he said.

Damdamun-Latiph responded that while the MCB aims to expedite and fairly compensate the victims, its authority is constrained by the law regarding compensation limits.

Countering this, Cayetano said that although the existing law might be insufficient, the Constitution requires fair compensation when property is taken.

“If we interpret the law in a way that doesn’t provide the correct amount, then that law will become unconstitutional because it says, ‘No taking of property without just compensation,’” he said.

Acknowledging the government’s efforts in compensating victims and restoring Marawi, Cayetano urged all key government agencies to propose creative compensation solutions to higher authorities.

“I don’t think our beloved President and Congress will deny you if you come up with creative just compensation and have them approve it,” he said.

The independent senator also proposed that the MCB come up with a joint resolution that would establish a fair market value formula for the victims, enabling Congress to assist the displaced families in swiftly returning home.

“In the end, when we really compensate them, we want na ‘pag sinabi nilang ‘Thank you,’ it’s because we cared, hindi y’ung ‘kesa sa wala,’” he said. ###


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