|Secretary Abdullah Mamao|
MASIDING N. YAHYA
Iligan City, Philippines
June 8, 2017
A Muslim Maranao member of President Duterte’s cabinet allayed fears that Maranaos would become a wandering people when the armed conflicts between the Maute/ISIS armed groups and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Marawi City end and return to normalcy.
Responding to a question posed at a press conference held here recently on what the government would do if victims of the conflict cannot go back to their homes or property for legal impediments, Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers and Special Concerns Atty. Abdullah “Dabs” Mamao said there are mechanisms that the evacuees can return to their own homes and avail of government support for their reconstruction and rehabilitation without fears that their lands, homes or properties will be taken over by others.
Secretary Mamao said although a certain percentage of land in Marawi might have been titled by other unscrupulous individuals, and many were said to be loaned to and forfeited by banks and other institutions, or sold by others without the knowledge of the true owners, their rights as to the ownership of the properties in question will be definitely protected by law.
Mamao cited cases a long time ago almost similar to this problem which he had handled when he was a legal practitioner then. He said innocent landowners came to him to seek his legal advice which he did pro bono.
These landowners, he added, were to be ejected by certain rich and powerful persons because the latter was able to secure a land title or certificate of the land the owners had been occupying since time immemorial.
Mamao said the court decided in favor of the true landowners and therefore were not ejected.
Mamao believed the government will protect the right of the victims affected by the Marawi siege.
Marawi City has a population of about 300 thousand people, 99 percent of them are Maranao Muslims. It is said to be the last frontier of Islamic civilization in the Philippines, hosting big Islamic institutions of learning, mosques and religious organizations.
The siege which took place since last May 23 is still going on as of press time. An unofficial report said it has already claimed over a thousand lives, damaged considerable residential and commercial buildings and other properties, and rendered tens of thousands of evacuees to different evacuation centers in different places and to their relatives. (TNRS)