MANILA — Deputy House Speaker Mujiv Hataman on Wednesday called out his colleagues for rushing a new anti-terrorism legislation, but leaving behind bills seeking to compensate victims of the 2017 Marawi siege.
Terrorist groups can take advantage of widespread discontent over the slow pace of rehabilitation of the once-bustling Islamic city to recruit members, Hataman warned during an online forum by the Cotabato City-based Institute for Autonomy and Governance.
“If we don’t fix Marawi, there might come a time when terrorists would use that as a new narrative,” the Basilan lawmaker said in Filipino.
Hataman’s bill granting P30 billion to Marawi victims, and Lanao Del Sur Rep. Abdul Alonto Adiong's version earmarking P50 billion to them, have been stuck at the disaster management committee of the House of Representatives since August last year.
But the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, a mirror-image of the Senate version passed in February, breezed through the lower chamber “faster than a brand-new train from China,” Hataman said.
“Pero yung mga sagot dito sa terorismo o yung preventive policies sa terorismo, yun yung hindi natin napapagtuunan ng pansin,” he said.
(But we’re not giving attention to what is supposed to be an answer to terrorism, the preventive policies against terrorism.)
Hataman voted against the new anti-terrorism bill that seeks to repeal the Human Security Act of 2007, citing what he called "vague" definitions of terrorism that could lead to human rights abuses.
He also warned of new powers granted to the Anti-Terrorism Council, such as designating groups or individuals as terrorists, whose assets could then now be frozen.
The council is also prone to being "politicized" because it will be composed of Cabinet members appointed by a sitting president, he said.
"Generally, talagang nakakatakot itong panukala na ito," Hataman said.
(Generally, this bill is really worrisome.)
Hataman’s bill will create a board to process applications for compensation from residents whose pieces of property were damaged during the 5-month siege of Marawi City by ISIS-affiliated Maute terrorists.
The process is expected to be tedious, with the board, composed of 3 separate divisions, given 5 years to complete the work. Claimants will also have 1 year from the effectivity of the implementing rules to file their applications.
An approved claim facing no challenge from another applicant will be granted within 30 days, according to the compensation bill.
Computation will be based on either the fair market value or the total area value per story of a house or residential building.
“It is the duty of the State to address the loss and destruction of property of Marawi City residents,” Hataman said in the explanatory note of the bill.