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25,000 human rights victims file new claims for reparation

Second round of filing ends Saturday
/ 07:23 AM May 30, 2015
DARKNESS FALLS ON THE PHILIPPINES The Philippine Daily Express, then a tabloid, announces the declaration of martial law on Sept. 21, 1972. INQUIRER ARCHIVES

DARKNESS FALLS ON THE PHILIPPINES The Philippine Daily Express, then a tabloid, announces the declaration of martial law on Sept. 21, 1972. INQUIRER ARCHIVES

The Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) has appealed for patience as it continues to assess and evaluate thousands of claims of human rights victims during martial law who are seeking reparation.

The agency made the call as it ends the second round of filing of claims today, May 30, as mandated by a joint congressional resolution earlier this year.

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HRVCB chair Lina Sarmiento said the agency will be processing around 70,000 applications from the first filing period, which ended in November last year, and the second filing period, which started on April 8.

She said the applications for claims still need to be investigated, evaluated and adjudicated rigorously before awards for reparation are decided on.

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“That’s the magnitude of our task at hand,” Sarmiento said.

So far, the HRVCB has received around 25,000 claims during the second filing period.

The extension of the application period was set after the approval of a joint congressional resolution by President Aquino last Feb. 17.

The agency received 46,985 claims during the initial six-month filing period from May to November 2014.

Sarmiento said that contrary to hearsay, the HRVCB has not yet released any awards for reparation.

“We cannot release the reparations yet because the computation of the amount due each claimant requires us to finish adjudicating all claims. We can only determine the reparation for each claimant when the total points to be awarded for all legitimate claimants is known,” she said.

Republic Act No. 10368 aims to provide recognition and reparation, both monetary and nonmonetary, to all victims of human rights violations during the martial law regime.

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The names of the victims will also be enshrined in the Roll of Victims of Human Rights Violations in acknowledgment of their heroism and sacrifices.

Following the acceptance of applications, 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 reparation fund.

Under RA 10368, which created the HRVCB, the agency has until May 12, 2016, to finish validating the applications and award financial compensation for the legitimate claimants.

Sarmiento is optimistic that the agency will complete its task and fulfill its mandate of providing effective remedy to human rights violations victims during the Marcos regime.

The agency is considering asking Congress to allow the hiring of additional personnel for the HRVCB or the extension of the agency’s working time frame.

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TAGS: HRVCB, Human rights, Human Rights Victims, Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, Lina Sarmiento, Martial law, reparation
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