Martial law victims want reparations board to quit
A group of martial law survivors on Friday demanded the resignation of top officials of the government body reviewing claims of victims of human rights violations under dictator Ferdinand Marcos for alleged inefficiencies in the compensation of over 75,000 people.
Officials of the Martial Law Human Rights Victims Claims Board said they had been exhausting all efforts to beat the May 2018 deadline to compensate martial law victims.
Around 200 martial law survivors led by the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) picketed the claims board office at the University of the Philippines to protest the alleged slow pace of reparations.
One of the protesters, Danilo de la Fuente, said that if the board members are unable to speed up the process, they should step down.
The board was established under Republic Act No. 10368, or the Martial Law Victims Recognition and Reparation Act.
Selda said the law has not been properly implemented since it was signed in February 2013 by President Benigno Aquino III.
“None of us have received even a single cent,” De la Fuente said. He blamed the “point system” used in evaluating claims for the bog down.
Selda called on President Duterte to expedite the reparations despite his order to bury Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery.
Claims board chair Lina Sarmiento said they are just following the process and criteria set by the law.
“I don’t understand why they’re judging our work this early,” she said of Selda’s criticism. “If we don’t finish all claims by May 2018, then that’s when they should judge us.”
She said they have evaluated nearly 20,000 of the 75,730 claims while weeding out bogus claimants.
“We can’t just grant the claims because we need to employ an evidence-based approach,” she told the Inquirer.
Sarmiento said they have to finish evaluating all the claims before they start paying compensation.
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