The Department of Budget and Management has authorized the disbursement of P1 billion to compensate the victims of the Marawi siege.
Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said Sunday that DBM has approved a special allocation release order to pay for the compensation of the Marawi siege victims under the 2023 General Appropriations Act.
The Marawi Compensation Board estimated that 362 victims will receive financial compensation from the P1 billion allotted under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund.
The 2023 GAA's NDRRMF special clause indicates that the initial allocation is for compensation for any lawful owner of residential, cultural, commercial, and other properties in Marawi's principal impacted regions or other affected locations that were destroyed or partially damaged during the siege; owners of private properties demolished during Marawi's recovery, restoration, and reconstruction; and heirs of the deceased or believed dead, in accordance with Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2022.
Meanwhile, calls to augment the compensation for Marawi siege victims from the current P1 billion to P5 billion for 2024 will rest at the sound discretion of Congress.
Since the 2024 National Expenditure Program has already been submitted to Congress, "the increase in the budget can no longer be introduced by the executive branch," a Budget undersecretary told this paper last week.
In 2022, Pangandaman said the Marcos administration earmarked P1 billion to compensate the displaced victims of the five-month siege that ravaged Marawi City in 2017 lodged under the 31-billion calamity fund.
However, Basilan lawmaker Mujiv Hataman — then-governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao during the siege — lamented in a budget deliberations that the annual P1 billion allotted by the DBM for the Marawi victims is "immensely insufficient."
The Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2022 (RA 11696), inked by then-president Rodrigo Duterte, intends to provide reparation and compensation to Marawi residents whose properties were defaced or wrecked during the five-month clash.
Marawi City was stormed by Islamic State-inspired homegrown terrorists and left homes, properties, and businesses destroyed after the five-month siege.
Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao in 2017 amid the clashes. It ended after two years in 2019.