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Senators praise Aquino for rights compensation law

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President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Senators praised President Benigno Aquino III for signing the Human Rights Victim Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 on the 27th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III said in a statement Monday that the passage of the law recognizes “those who, in the quest for freedom, were killed, tortured, abducted, and unjustly harmed,” during the Martial Law years under dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“As one of the co-authors of this law, I personally see this law as a recognition of the heroism that was widespread during the Martial Law: a heroism that rang across hills and blazed through the streets of this country,” Guingona said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, in a separate statement, said that the law will help the new generation who grew up after martial law to know more about the history of the country.

“The signing of the Human Rights Victim Reparation and Recognition Act on the anniversary of the People Power Revolution of 1986 serves as a reminder for us Filipinos to never take for granted the freedom that we now enjoy. It was paid in blood and tears of thousands of our countrymen, and it took one miraculous revolution—one where no blood was shed—to oust a dictator,” Pangilinan said.

“There’s now an entire generation of young Filipinos who were not even born when the 1986 People Power Revolution happened, much less when Martial Law was declared. It is our duty to remind this generation of what transpired. We must never allow this part of our history to be trivialized nor the facts be twisted by those who seek to be cleansed of their transgressions against the Filipino people,” he said.

Senator Francis Escudero said in his statement that the law will allot some P10 billion for compensation to all victims during the martial law era; such as deaths and disappearances, torture, political detention, etc.

“While it took all of 27 years for the state to finally recognize the atrocities it inflicted on Filipinos whose democratic rights were suppressed under Marcos, the compensation law seeks to give justice to victims of the dark days of oppression and hopefully give an assurance that it will not happen again,” Escudero said.

“The expanded coverage of the law includes not only monetary compensation but also non-monetary benefits such as social and psychological assistance on victims of atrocities through different concerned government agencies. Instead of merely calling it compensation bill, we now call it the reparation bill,” he said.

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Tags: Benigno Aquino III , Edsa People Power Revolution , Edsa Revolution , Ferdinand Marcos , Francis Escudero , Francis Pangilinan , Human Rights Victim , Human Rights Victim Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 , Marcos dictatorship , Teofisto Guingona III

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