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.