February 8, 2017
Koko wants compensation for Martial Law victims hurried
Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Wednesday once again appealed to the members of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) to speed up the processing of compensation for human rights victims under the Martial Law regime.
Pimentel, the son of Martial Law victim and former Senate President Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., expressed concerns that the HRVCB might not be able to finish the processing of compensations before the end of the Board's mandate on May 12, 2018.
"It took 27 years after the fall of the Marcos regime before a law was passed to create the HRVCB. The victims have waited too long already", Pimentel said.
Republic Act No. 10368, which created the HRVCB, was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III during the commemoration of the 1986 People Power Revolution in 2013.
The law created the HRVCB to recognize and provide reparations for victims of human rights abuses during martial law.
The Board is an independent and quasi-judicial body that has the sole and original jurisdiction to determine the eligibility of claims, extent of human rights violations and award of reparations.
RA 10368 gave the Board two years, from the effectivity of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (May 12, 2014), to accomplish its mandate.
Pimentel, in 2016, sponsored Senate Bill No. 3153 which sought to extend the deadline for the Board, in view of the 75,730 applications they received for the reparation and/or recognition of human rights victims, which was far in excess of the original estimate of 20,000.
RA 10766 amended the law and gave the HRVCB two more years to accomplish its mandate.
However, Pimentel expressed reservations on the HRVCB's pace of work.
After almost three years, the Board has only adjudicated a total of 30,027, or 40% of the total number of claims, with 45,703 more remaining.
Pimentel, in an earlier interview, called the HRVCB to task, saying that Congress already did its job by extending their deadline, and that the Board should in turn do its job.
The Board already decided to release initial payments to 4,000 claimants by the second quarter of 2017 after a meeting between members of the HVRVB, members of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), and President Rodrigo Duterte on January 19 this year.
Pimentel said, "They were able to speed up the process because President Duterte wanted it to happen. I hope they can do the same for all the other claimants still waiting for their compensation."
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