Bicam panel reconciles differences on compensation for Marcos rights victimsBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — The bicameral conference committee on the on human rights compensation bill for victims during the Marcos regime on Wednesday reconciled its disagreeing provisions.
Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said that the panel has agreed on a reconciled version of the bills which sought to grant reparation for human rights victims during former President Ferdinand Marcos’ regime.
He said that they have agreed on conclusive presumption for the claimants of a case adjudged by the US Federal Court in Honolulu, Hawaii as legitimate martial law victims.
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said that once ratified and signed by the President, House Bill No. 5990 and Senate Bill No. 3334 will be known as the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.
Human rights victims during the martial law period will receive reparation from the P10 billion funding transferred to the Philippine government in 1997 by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.
Lagman, a principal author of the bill since the 10th Congress, said that they expected the bills to be ratified by Monday.
The bicameral panel has earlier agreed on creating a compensation board which will scrutinize the applications of human rights victims.
The board will be composed of nine members selected by the President out of nominees from human rights organizations like Karapatan, Selda, and Find among others. It will be led by a chairman chosen by the President.
Senator Teofisto Guingona III in a recent interview said that the members of the board must have integrity and a thorough understanding of human rights and the martial law. Three of them should also be members of the bar.
Lagman said that claimants of the Hawaii case will be accorded conclusive presumption as legitimate victims of human rights violations even though the compensation board has the power to determine the extent of violations and amount of reparation to be granted.
The human rights violations victims recognized by the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation are also entitled to conclusive presumption, he said.