Makabayan bloc files P10B bill for Martial Law victims

·Contributor
·3 min read
Martial Law commemoration on September 20, 2019. Filmmaker and journalist Boni Ilagan holds a photo of his sister Rizalina Ilagan, who was abducted and disappeared by state security agents on July 31, 1977, along with nine others. Makabayan lawmakers filed a bill in Congress that seeks reparation and recognition for Martial Law victims. (PHOTO: Pola Rubio)
Martial Law commemoration on September 20, 2019. Filmmaker and journalist Boni Ilagan holds a photo of his sister Rizalina Ilagan, who was abducted and disappeared by state security agents on July 31, 1977, along with nine others. Makabayan lawmakers filed a bill in Congress that seeks reparation and recognition for Martial Law victims. (PHOTO: Pola Rubio)

The Makabayan bloc has filed a bill at the House of Representatives seeking reparation and recognition of human rights violation victims (HRVVs) under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr – father of the country’s incumbent President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Filed by party-list Representatives Raoul Manuel (Kabataan), Francine Castro (ACT Teachers) and Arlene Brosas (Gabriela), House Bill No. 3505 titled "New Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2022" seeks “to continue the processing of claims for recognition and reparation by HRVVs” during the regime of the late Marcos Sr.

The bill reconstitutes the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB), an independent body tasked with processing and investigating reparation claims by Martial Law victims.

While over 75,000 HRVVs have applied for claims under Republic Act No. 10368 or the Act Providing for Reparation and Recognition of Victims of Human Right Violations during the Marcos regime, only 11,103 were approved by the board until it expired on May 12, 2018.

As of May 6, 2018, only 6,737 appeals were completely resolved by the HRVCB.

“Nine years after RA 10368 was passed and 30 years after the landmark decision in Hawaii, relatives and friends of human rights violations are still crying out for justice,” Makabayan said in the bill.

“Many of those who were disqualified or denied were disqualified on the basis of technicality such as failure to promptly present evidence or testimony or submit duly notarized affidavits; failure to reply or understand notices, rules and regulations, deadlines of submission; and other problems encountered by ordinary people not familiar with legal procedures,” it added.

The measure proposes that P10 billion “sourced from the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses that have been remitted and will be remitted by the Presidential Commission on Good Government to the Bureau of Treasury be used to fund the reparation and finance all claims.”

In 2003, the Philippine Supreme Court awarded the government some $658 million from the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos’ frozen Swiss bank deposits.

“For true unity to prosper, we must acknowledge the injustice wrought by martial law and provide the proper compensation to the victims. This is justice that they are owed, and must be delivered to them,” the bill said.

Human rights violations

Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s nine-year dictatorship brought about thousands of grave human rights violations according to Amnesty International.

According to the international human rights organization, “tens of thousands of people [were] arbitrarily arrested and detained, and thousands of others tortured, forcibly disappeared, and killed.”

Those arrested were mostly church workers, human rights defenders, legal aid lawyers, labor leaders, and journalists.

Other civil society organizations including the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, the International Commission of Jurists, the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights, and the Foundation for Worldwide People Power also documented similar human rights violations and crimes committed under international law.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings. The views expressed are her own.

Watch more videos on Yahoo: