Payment OK’d for 4,000 Marcos victims
A body formed to process compensation claims of victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos dictatorship on Saturday released a list of the names of the first 4,000 victims qualified to receive at least P20,000 each as damage payment for abuses suffered under the Marcos regime, which was put to an end by the 1986 People Power Edsa Revolution.
The Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) was created by Republic Act (RA) No. 10368 in 2013 to evaluate claims for compensation to be taken from the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth stash estimated to be worth P10 billion deposited in Swiss banks.
Some of the money, adjudged as stolen wealth by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court and the Philippine Supreme Court, had been recovered by the Philippine government.
After its creation in 2013, this is the first time the HRVCB identified and publicly recognized victims of abuses under Marcos.
The 45-page list of victims, called “conclusively presumed claimants” by HRVCB, has been uploaded at the HRVCB website (www.hrvclaimsboard.gov.ph) and the board’s Facebook page.
The list is broken down by regions and has been published in two tabloids. It would be published again every week in the next two weeks.
The board earlier announced the partial release of compensation to the first 4,000 of 9,000 claimants in line with a directive by President Duterte for the board to start releasing payouts to abuse victims. He gave the order after meeting with claimants in January.
The board had set the start of the release of compensation in the second quarter of this year.
The partial reparation, according to the group Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda), which counts as members martial law survivors and reparation claimants, could reach half of the total amount that is due the abuse victims.
The HRVCB would process and resolve appeals against claimants during the period between its release of the list and the start of the payment distribution.
Appeals to contest the claims must be filed within 10 days of the date of the last publication of the list in newspapers.
The board has already processed a total of 31,000 claims out of a total of 75,730 applications since it started operations in 2014. Under the law creating and extending the operations of the board, the HRVCB has only until May 12, 2018 to finish its tasks.
“The processing of monetary reparation of the first 4,000 eligible claims is being done simultaneously with the evaluation and deliberation of the remaining claims,” said HRVCB chair Lina Sarmiento in a statement.
“We would like to assure all claimants that each claim is being evaluated based on the evidence submitted to the board,” she said.
The HRVCB has yet to actually distribute any funds.
The reparation amount would depend on how many “points” the claimant’s complaint accumulates.
Ten points are for victims who died or disappeared; six to nine points for victims who were tortured, raped or sexually abused; three to five points for victims who were detained and one to two points for all other rights violations defined by RA 10368, Section 3.
According to Selda, each point is estimated to be equal to P20,000 in reparation.
But more than the money, “it’s the recognition we are after,” said Selda chair Maria Hilao-Enriquez. “This law (creating HRVCB) is supposed to punish Marcos for what he did during martial law.”
“We are happy that there is finally recognition,” she added, though she complained of the slow process of reparation for the victims.
Selda said at least 23 claimants were already dead.
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