Compensation for Marawi citizens needed
A Philippine mayor said Wednesday he does not see the need to sue the government in international court for damages over the Marawi crisis in the Muslim south.
"The filing of a case in any court is not really necessary... It would preempt the government's initiative in rebuilding the city," Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said, according to the Inquirer.
The local chief executive said what was needed was cooperation to make sure the sufferings of the displaced residents were eased.
Gandamra's statement's came amid the move of some Maranao residents to file a P120-billion (more than $2 billion US) damage suit against the military and the national government in the international court at The Hague.
He said the plan of a Maranao group to sue the government for damages over the Marawi crisis will not be necessary because compensation for the victims is among the things being considered.
Saying that one of their advocacies is the rehabilitation and rebuilding of not just public infrastructure but also private properties damaged in the war, the mayor said that based on their talk with Task Force Bangon Marawi, they are open to the idea of compensating the victims.
Gandamra also said the residents were determined to ask Congress to form a task force that would attend to the needs of families displaced by nearly five months of fighting between government forces and Maute terrorists in Marawi.
Replying to a media question on reports of alleged human rights violations being shared on social media, Gandamra said he had no personal knowledge of any particular case.
Concerning the issue of people who might have suffered abuses at the hands of soldiers, Gandamra said they could come to his office for documentation of the abuses.
The mayor urged those people who were allegedly victims of human rights violations to come and provide evidence, adding that hard evidence was needed for the complaint to prosper in any judicial body.
Last Wednesday, the military rescued at least 17 hostages, including five female teachers of Dansalan College, after an intense firefight in Marawi City.
Lanao del Sur provincial crisis management spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong also confirmed the successful rescue by elements of the Joint Task Force at 2 a.m. Wednesday.
With the rescue of 17 hostages, the Daesh-linked Maute militants are believed to be still holding around 40 hostages.
Also on Wednesday, eight militants surrendered to the military government troops in what officials have said was clear evidence they are approaching the end of the war.
As of Monday, more than 800 people died in the fighting, including 155 government troops.