Martial law victims have until Nov. 10 midnight to file claims for reparation
MANILA, Philippines — Victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law regime have until Monday midnight to file their papers for recognition and reparation as the Human Rights Victims Claims Board ends the six-month filing period for claims.
Although lawmakers have expressed interest in extending the filing of application further, the HRVCB said it would have to observe the deadline provided by the law on Nov. 10 for now.
“The HRVCB will make the appropriate preparations to conduct the next round of acceptance of applications as soon as the extension of the filing period becomes effective,” said HRVCB chairperson Lina Sarmiento.
The extension, she said, would give more opportunity for other legitimate claimants living in far-flung areas to prepare their documents and file their claims.
Human rights victims can file their applications at the main office at the University of the Philippines campus, and in regional desks all over the country.
Sarmiento said the HRVCB has received 40,981 claims, as of Saturday night.
“We decided to go on overtime on Saturday to attend to the claimants who are already here in our office. We now have a desk in all Commission on Human Rights regional offices all over the country,” she said, adding that they requested for volunteers to help out with the work.
Earlier, joint resolutions in the House of Representatives and in the Senate were filed seeking the extension of the filing, prompted by the many claimants filing their applications.
The HOR has already approved on third reading the joint resolution for the extension of the filing period while the Senate is expected to approve the same measure on third reading when it resumes its sessions on Nov. 17.
The HRVCB has set up regional desks in CHR offices in San Fernando City, La Union; San Fernando City, Pampanga; Baguio City; Legazpi City; Tuguegarao City; Cebu City; Iloilo City; Tacloban City; Bacolod City; Davao City; Cagayan de Oro City; Butuan City; Zamboanga City and Cotabato City.
In the past six months, the HRVCB also conducted caravans to reach claimants in far-flung areas, making the rounds of provinces all over the country.
According to Sarmiento, the HRVCB will deliberate on each claim to determine legitimacy of the claim and entitlement to an award, which will come from the P10 billion set aside for reparation and recognition under Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.
“After all claims have been decided upon, the distribution on the award shall be set and announced to the public,” the official added.
The special law, signed by President Benigno Aquino III in February 2013, aims to provide recognition and reparation, both monetary and non-monetary, to all victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law regime.
Aside from reparation, their names shall be enshrined in the Roll of Victims of Human Rights Violations, in acknowledgment of their heroism and sacrifices, Sarmiento said.
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