75,000 claims swamp human rights board
The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) has less than a year to finish evaluating and processing more than 75,000 claims for reparation filed by human rights victims during Martial Law.
The agency received 28,409 applications during the second round of filing from April 7 to May 30 this year and 47,128 during the first round of filing.
This means the HRVCB has to evaluate and investigate 75,537 claims for reparation and recognition, and award the P10-billion reparation fund to the claimants.
“There are still a few who go to the office and ask if they can still file their claims. But, even if we want to, we cannot go beyond what the law says,” said HRVCB chairperson Lina Sarmiento.
Under Republic Act No. 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.
The law aims to provide recognition and reparation, both monetary and nonmonetary, to all victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law regime.
Since the second filing period has already ended, a claimant who failed to file his application is deemed to have waived his right to do so.
However, Samiento said the HRVCB is authorized by law to grant motu proprio recognition to human rights victims who did not apply.
“Although no monetary reparation is given to them, these human victims are also entitled to be included in the Roll of Human Rights Violations Victims to be prepared by the HRVCB,” she said.
With less than a year to go, the agency is looking at legal and solutions to fast-track the investigation and adjudication of claims, the HRVCB chairperson said.
Aside from reparation, their names will be enshrined in the Roll of Human Rights Violations Victims in acknowledgment of their heroism and sacrifices.
Following the acceptance of applications, the HRVCB will deliberate on each claim to determine its legitimacy and entitlement to an award, which will come from the P10-billion reparation fund.
Sarmiento clarified that contrary to speculations, the HRVCB has not yet released any awards for reparation.
“We cannot release the reparations yet because the computation of the amount due to 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 are known,” she pointed out.
Meanwhile, the agency is exploring partnerships with other government agencies for nonmonetary reparations for the claimants.
The agency is communicating with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the nonmonetary benefits.
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