MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines, one of the institutions blamed for the atrocities during martial law, has welcomed the law granting compensation to the victims of human rights during that dark chapter of Philippine history
“The AFP fully supports our President’s move to sign into law the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 which provides justice for all the people who suffered the atrocities of martial law,” the military said in a statement on Monday.
The military considers the law as a reminder to Filipinos “of the important lessons of our past by educating them of the stories of heroism and suffering during the martial law era.”
“Our country has a very rich history and we should all learn from the mistakes of the past in order to prevent the negative part of our history from repeating itself,” the military said.
As part of its acknowledgment of the atrocities committed during martial law, the military declassified the martial law documents in 2011 and turned them over to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
It’s been a long struggle for the AFP to redeem its image as a human rights violator. To this day, it dodges allegations by activists and progressive movements of human rights abuses.
But the AFP has remained steadfast in its own campaign to change that reputation, styling itself as a protector of human rights nearly three decades since the downfall of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“As an organization promoting the protection of the human rights and adherence to the International Humanitarian Law, all developments and moves toward the attainment of truth and justice for our people are always welcome,” the AFP said.
The military said the law would allow everyone “to move forward as a nation without forgetting the sacrifices and heroism of our people who bravely fought for our country’s democracy.”