Implementing Rules and Regulations Consultations for Martial Law Victims Continue

Public consultations on Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) that the Claims Board and the Memorial Commission drafted are now happening in Samar and Leyte, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) announced today.

These public consultations will continue nationwide. It started in the National Capital Region last month.

The law mandates Human Rights Violations Victims Claim Board (HRVVCB), otherwise known as the Claims Board, and the Memorial Commission, two agencies attached but not under the CHR, to recognize and give reparations to the martial law survivors, victims and their relatives. The martial law claimants belong to a generation who stood up for democracy and freedom against former President Ferdinand Marcos’ one-man rule.

The IRR will spell out the features of RA 10368 otherwise known as the Reparation Law. The Claims Board has a brief two-year life.

As soon as the IRR is finalized, there will be a six-month period for all legitimate claimants to file claims for reparations and recognition with the Claims Board. This information will be published in newspapers and announced over the radio and television. This period will commence from the time IRR becomes effective. It will be implemented 15 days after the last publication of the IRR.

This period has not started as the nine-person HRVVCB is in its organizational stage yet- setting up its office, forming the secretariat and claims systems.

The Memorial Commission, on the other hand, is tasked to memorialize the fight for freedom and demoncracy by establishing a museum, writing stories of martial law heroes and collecting artifacts and documents for archiving. CHR Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales is the present Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairperson. National Historical Commission Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno is the Co-Chair. BOT members are Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan, National Commission for Culture and the Arts Chairperson Felipe De Leon Jr. and University of the Philippines Librarian Rodolfo Tarlit.

Human Rights Violations Victims’ Claims Board vows to move fast

The nine-member Human Rights Violations Victims’ Claims Board has vowed to expedite the processing of claims and reparations of those who were tortured, raped, abused and killed from 1972 up to 1986.

The Claims Board is tasked to receive, investigate, evaluate and approve the applications of human rights violations victims. The body is mandated to decide as to the veracity of the claims of applicants who are survivors and relatives of victims during martial law under former President Ferdinand Marcos.

In a press statement, the Claims Board said: “The real lessons and true meaning of the 1986 People Power Revolution will remain incomplete for as long as justice remains elusive for the thousands of human rights violations victims. The victims’ struggles inspired the Filipino people to topple the dictatorship 28 years ago.”

The first two-star woman general in the Philippines heading the new Claims Board, Chairperson Lina Sarmiento, said that the democracy the Filipinos enjoy today owes it to the spirit of those who shed their blood, sweat and tears in the struggle against the dictatorship.

Mandated by Republic Act No. 10368 or the Recognition and Reparation of Human Rights Violations Victims Act of 2013, the Claims Board chairperson and members were appointed recently ending the civil society organizations, human rights groups and martial law victims’ long wait. Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales gave them their appointment papers in a simple ceremony at the CHR Conference Room last February 14.

Claims Board Chairperson Lina said they will reach out to all victims of abuses during martial law beyond those who are already recognized by the US federal District Court of Honolulu and the Bantayog ng mga Bayani. In this private claim, verified claimants have already been receiving Php 50 thousand pesos each from February up to March 21 of this year.

For the state claim under RA 10368, the Claims Board gives points to each verified victim and decides on the monetary equivalent to be awarded to qualified claimants within two years.