11,103 victims of human rights violations under Martial Law to get compensation

Jodesz Gavilan

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11,103 victims of human rights violations under Martial Law to get compensation
The release of the final list comes days before the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board ends its operations on May 12, 2018 as mandated by law

MANILA, Philippine – The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) has released its final list of eligible claimants days before it ceases operations.

In a statement, HRVCB chairperson Lina Sarmiento said the final list consisting of 11,103 names who will receive monetary compensation was approved after a long process. The total number of eligible claimants make up 14% of a total of 75,749 applicants. 

“The final list was arrived at after all claims were deliberated by the 3 divisions of the board, then list of preliminary eligible claimants published, and all appeals or oppositions resolved,” she said.

The first tranche of payments was in May 2017.

The HRVCB, created in pursuant of Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, is a quasi-judicial body mandated by law “to receive, evaluate, process, and investigate” reparation claims made by victims of human rights violations under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law. (READ: Martial Law 101: Things you should know)

The release of the final list comes days before the HRVCB is expected to end operations as mandated by law. 

A sunset clause in the original law gave the board only two years – from May 12, 2014 to May 12, 2016 – to complete its work. In April 2016, Republic Act No. 10766 was passed, extending its life for two more years or until May 12, 2018.

VICTIMS. HRVCB Chairperson Lina Sarmiento with board mebers Atty Wilfred Asis and Atty Galuasch Ballaho distribute checks to eligible claimants. Photo from Atty Ross Tugade of HRVCB

For victims

Considered the darkest chapter in Philippine history, the 10 years of military rule saw about 70,000 people imprisoned, 34,000 tortured, and 3,240 killed, according to Amnesty International. (READ: #NeverAgain: Martial Law stories young people need to hear)

Thousands of people, mostly those the administration deemed opposition, were subjected to various forms of torture. (READ: Worse than death: Torture methods during martial law)

The amount of monetary compensation works on a point system depending on the violation as provided by the law:

  • Enforced disappearance and killing: 10 points
  • Torture: 6 to 9 points
  • Arbitrary detention: 3 to 5 points
  • Other violations: 1 to 2 points

Each claimant that is deemed eligible by the board will receive from P176,779 for one point to P1,767,790 for 10 points. The money distributed comes from the P10-billion in ill-gotten wealth recovered from the Marcos family. (READ: Women victims tell SC of Martial Law torture)

Aside from money, victims are also entitled to other compensations such as social services at the Department of Health and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, among others.

RA 10368 also provides for the creation of a library and a museum in honor of Martial Law victims. (READ: What the gov’t still owes Martial Law victims– Rappler.com

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.