Congress ratifies ‘Marcos compensation bill’

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The bill is ready for President Aquino's signature as soon as the Senate ratifies it.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED)- The Senate and the House of Representatives on Monday, January 28, ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the ‘Marcos compensation bill,’ a measure seeking to provide compensation to human rights victims during the Martial Law era.

Its formal title is “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.”

The bill is ready for President Aquino III’s signature.

Sen Francis “Chiz” Escudero is the sponsor of the measure in the Senate. He is chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

“This is a first of such human rights legislation in the world where a state recognizes a previous administration’s fault against its own people and not only provides for, but also actually appropriates for reparation,” the senator said.

“The bicameral conference committee was able to thresh out contentious issues last week. We also expanded the coverage of the bill that includes not only monetary compensation but also non-monetary benefits to include social and psychological assistance coming from different concerned government agencies.  Therefore, instead of merely calling it compensation bill, we now call it the reparation bill,” Escudero added.

Funding will come from the funds transferred to the Philippine government on December 1997 by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. It amounts to P10 billion, plus accrued interests.

A Human Rights Victims Compensation Board will be created to determine who may claim compensation and how much they will receive.

But based on the consolidated version, it’s already agreed that the 9,539 claimants who successfully secured final and executory judgment in the US Federal District Court of Honolulu, Hawaii will be accorded “conclusive presumption.” –

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