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Makabayan bloc seeks probe into alleged rights violations, rehab efforts in Marawi City


Progressive lawmakers from the House of Representatives on Wednesday filed a resolution seeking to investigate alleged human rights violations and other concerns of the people of Marawi City on the rehabilitation plans in the battered city.

In House Resolution 1973, the seven-member Makabayan bloc urged the Committees on Human Rights and Muslim Affairs to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on reports of human rights violations in Marawi City, as well as on the "grave" concerns of its residents on the post-siege reconstruction efforts.

"Mula mismo sa mga residents ng Marawi, ang daming nangyari doon na paglabag sa karapatang pantao, hindi lang doon sa halos kalahating milyon na na-displace na mga Maranao dahil sa nangyaring siege sa Marawi City," Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate said at a press conference after the filing of the resolution.

"Hanggang ngayon naghahanap sila ng kasagutan, anong nangyari doon sa mga kapatid namin na naiwan doon sa kasagsagan ng giyera?" he added.

Citing various reports, the resolution said more than 50 civilians were killed, 380,000 were displaced and 1,780 were held hostage during the Marawi siege.

Some 980 militants were also reportedly killed, most of them were not identified, while 165 police and military personnel were killed and more than 1,700 injured.

More than 11,000 homes were likewise destroyed while over 27,000 families were displaced.

Aside from these, a National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission conducted in June and July 2017 also documented several cases of alleged rights violations, such as cases of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and torture of Marawi residents, whom soldiers accosted while evacuating, the resolution said.

The lawmakers also said many Marawi City residents have expressed concern that there is no clear and comprehensive rehabilitation plan for the internally-displaced persons.

"Yung rehabilitation na bilyon-bilyon ang gugugulin ng gobyerno pero sa ngayon, kahit na residente ng Marawi ay at a lost. Ano ba talaga ang tunay na plano sa Marawi?" Zarate said.

"Babawiin daw ng pamahalaan ang kalakhan ng Marawi City dahil ito ay isang military reservation. Na yung dating nakatira sa sentro ng Marawi na naging sentro ng bakbakan ay hindi na pwedeng bumalik doon at marami pang iba," he added.

The resolution stressed the need for Congress to investigate such reports of human rights violations and concerns of the Marawi City residents on their land, properties, culture and future.

"While no amount of investigation, compensation and accountability will bring back lost and shattered lives, properties, culture and dignity, this investigation is  important for the people to regain a part of their lives and culture," the resolution read.

"As duly-elected representatives of the people, Congress should not allow and condone human rights violations and oppression of the people of Marawi, and instead heed the people’s call for justice, peace and right to self-determination," it added. — RSJ, GMA News

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