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Duterte orders faster reparation release

ernesto abella

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella KING RODRIGUEZ/ Presidential Photo

Malacañang on Monday said President Duterte had directed the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) to “speed up” the evaluation of the claims of martial law victims and release their reparation for the numerous human rights violations they suffered under the dictatorship of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

The first batch of human rights victims on Monday received compensation for the violations they suffered during the 20-year authoritarian rule.

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“President Duterte supports the welfare of all, not the least of which are the victims of human rights violations during the martial law years,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Ironically, it was Mr. Duterte’s campaign promise that paved the way for the burial of the dictator at Libingan ng mga Bayani in November last year, which triggered the first mass protest against the popular President.

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The President has also openly shown his fondness for the Marcoses. At one time, he introduced the dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as the country’s next vice president.

More than 75,000 human rights victims have filed their claims with the HRVCB as victims of martial rule, or the next of kin of victims who have suffered, died or remain missing.

The victims of martial rule can claim compensation from the government by virtue of Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act, which was signed into law by then president Benigno Aquino III on Feb. 25, 2013.

The law provides “for reparation and recognition of victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, documentation of said violations, appropriating funds therefor and for other purposes.”

Meanwhile, consultants of the communist peace panel are in a quandary about how to avail of the partial compensation due them from the government for the atrocities suffered during martial law.

National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultants Jose Maria Sison, Fidel Agcaoili, Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Tiamzon are among the first batch of 4,000 eligible claimants for partial compensation.

After a simple ceremony on Monday, the HRVCB started distributing Landbank cash cards to some 300 claimants who have already received by mail copies of the board resolution on their cases.

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Danilo de la Fuente, spokesperson of Selda and one of the 300 claimants, said the Tiamzons have not yet received the resolution on their cases, which has to be mailed to an address they will provide.

Claimants who reside abroad, like Sison and Agcaoili, will also have to wait to receive their resolution by mail.

The HRVCB said only claimants who had received copies of their resolutions and who did not appeal or face opposition would get cash cards.

In a statement on Monday, the Tiamzon couple said they will donate their compensation to Selda in support of political prisoners.

Zenaida Mique, executive director of Claimants 1081, who is in the first batch of approved claimants, said she welcomes the compensation but “is not sufficient justice for the suffering we endured.”

HRVCB chair Lina Sarmiento said partial compensation would be distributed to a second batch of another 4,000 claimants “very soon.”

She said they had so far finished deliberating 40,000 claims out of the 75,730 applications. The HRVCB has up to May 12, 2018 to complete the compensation.

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TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos, Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, Philippine news updates
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