Marawi compensation in limbo

Compensation for the Marawi victims constitutes the sum of all their aspirations to rebuild their lives.

We have raised this concern ad nauseam. And we will continue to storm our policy makers with reminders until they act. We will be pesky and pestering, because this is something that affects our life and family.

We suggested in the last hustings that the matter be treated as an election issue — to vote for candidates who will commit to help in funding the Marawi compensation bill. Unfortunately, the one who committed publicly to help did not win. Now, the matter is in limbo. Stakeholders could be waiting for nothing. It is sad.

The compensation for the Marawi victims constitutes the sum of all their aspirations to rebuild their lives. It is the key to their dream of returning to normalcy and back to their place of abode. No doubt, the compensation fund will substantially change the life of the residents, if not bring back closer their status quo ante bellum, especially the evacuees or internally displaced persons by the 2017 Marawi siege.

We seek the kind indulgence of our readers. This is being brought to fore by this column because it’s budget season in Congress. This is the most propitious time. There is a frenzy for a bigger slice of the budget cake. Anybody who has interest in projects that need funding must raise the issue to the level that it will catch the attention of the national leadership, especially Congress, else, they will be in default.

This is the time when Congress, being the lead agency in formulating government budget for the incoming year, works overtime, sometimes at graveyard time, to pass the budget. It is the test also of the influence of the Executive over the Legislative. If the budget is not passed on time, it will unmask the effete influence of the President over Congress. However, as in every start of a new leadership that helmed the government, solons will try to outdo each other to show support to the President budget, hoping to establish a good relationship for their personal, if not parochial, selfish interest.

Throwback. The Marawi Compensation Bill was approved by the outgoing administration, however, without provision for funding or where to sort out the financial requirement. What good is the law if it cannot be implemented? It will only give false hope, a mirage. And this is dangerous, because it breeds deep disillusion, hate, social unrest, if not rebellion.

We call on our Muslim solons to band together, cross party lines and push the request. They could be a political force which the administration cannot just ignore. Their deafening silence during this budget season is disconcerting. They must bring the issue to the national forum — Congress.

Where are the Moro civil society groups? They should create enough noise to get the attention of Imperial Manila. These national leaders are insensitive and callous to calls for help if they will not serve their parochial interest. What they need is a constant reminder of their mandate to give justice to everyone.

The measure of success and popularity of a representative is often measured not by the number of bills and resolutions sponsored and adopted by Congress, but by the amount of budget he brings home to his constituents. This is a good indicator also of the kind of representative a congressional district has. This political ecology provides the magnet for members of the House to turncoat to the party in power. Affiliation with the so-called super majority in Congress is a sure ticket to more than a fair share of the budget. Otherwise, you will only get the regular pork barrel crumbs spread out to members.

Yes, Virginia, there is discrimination in the allocation of government funds by Congress. Palakasan, a social trait defined by who knows who, is deeply rooted. If a representative knows his way in the intricate labyrinthine power play, he can bring home the bacon to his district. His ability to search for funds weighs on his electability in future elections.

And the plea continues.

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