Tell it to SunStar: Martial law victims support filing of new recognition and reparation bill

·2 min read

Members of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda), a group consisting of ex-political detainees since Marcos Sr.’s regime, trooped to Congress on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in support of the filing of a new bill for the recognition and reparation of martial law victims.

Danilo de la Fuente, vice chairman of Selda, said the new bill to be filed by Kabataan Party-list aims to recognize those who were left out under Republic Act (RA) 10368, which previously recognized victims of martial law through reparations, among others. According to him, over 75,000 victims turned up to claim recognition and reparation under the existing law, but the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) only recognized and compensated 11,103 victims.

“Almost a decade after the enactment of RA 10368, the fight for justice through reparation and recognition is not yet over. Thousands more were left unrecognized and uncompensated despite the glaring evidence. The government’s delays and neglect further aggravate the pain and suffering brought by the atrocities that we endured during Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s bloody regime. This is highly unacceptable,” he further stressed.

Echoing de la Fuente’s statement is Edith Castro, a Selda member from Tarlac who submitted an application to the HRVCB but was denied.

“We already suffered enough as victims of human rights violations during martial law. We have been carrying the pain and trauma for almost half a century now. Many of us already died without experiencing any sort of justice or recognition. To suffer the difficulties in complying with the requirements of the law only to be denied is violation twice over,” she lamented.

Amnesty International documented 3,257 extrajudicial killings, 35,000 victims of torture, 77 forced disappearances and 70,000 incarcerations during the reign of the Marcos dictatorship.

“We know that this is an uphill battle with the son of the late dictator. He himself was an active contributor in creating the horrors of martial law and has continued his father’s corrupt legacy by illegitimately forcing himself to Malacañang using the wealth stolen from the Filipino people, coupled with bribery and intimidation,” de la Fuente said.

He added: “But we will not relent nor be intimidated. We are committed to push for the enactment of this law. We will not stop until all martial law victims are recognized and compensated. We also call on the Filipino people to stand with justice and truth, and echo our urgent calls.”