Senate OKs extension of funds for Marcos rights victims til end-2019
A measure that would extend the availability of funds for human rights victims during the time of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos has been approved by the Senate on third and final reading.
On Monday, 16 senators voted to approve Senate Joint Resolution No. 13 with no negative votes and abstentions.
The measure, filed by Senator Francis Escudero and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, seeks to extend the “maintenance, availability and release of billions of funds deposited at the Land Bank of the Philippines.”
This will also authorize the Commission on Human Rights to administer the effective distribution of funds to qualified human rights victims or their heirs or representatives until the end of next year, a Senate statement said.
The funds were principally sourced from the more than P10 billion of the Marcos ill-gotten wealth as provided for under Republic Act 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, a Senate statement also said.
In April 2016, a law was passed extending the effectivity of RA 10368 until May 2018.
As of May 11 this year, however, the Human Rights Victims Claims Board had been able to approve and duly recognize only 11,103 claimants out of more than 75,000 applicants.
The board, according to the Senate statement, was able to completely resolve 6,737 appeals before the deadline.
Under the resolution, all legitimate claimants under RA 10368 would be able to get their monetary reparations, particularly those who were issued checks by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).
The statement, quoting Escudero, also noted that as of June 28, 2018, the Human Rights Victims Claims Board account with the LBP reported a balance of P792.629 million.
The amount, he said, can only be maintained until August 11, 2018, after which the balance would be reverted to the Bureau of Treasury.
The statement though noted reports from several approved claimants’ relatives that they were not able to convert checks to cash even with the issuance of Special Powers of Attorney.
“It is the sense of the Senate and the House of Representatives that the funds be effectively distributed, especially to the approved and qualified claimants,” the joint resolution said. /kga
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