House extends availability of funds for martial law victims

MANILA The House of Representatives on Tuesday adopted a joint resolution seeking to extend the period of availability of funds for victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime until December this year.

The lower chamber passed through voice voting House Joint Resolution No. 26, filed by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, to ensure that all legitimate claimants under the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act will be able to get their monetary reparations, particularly those who were issued with checks by the Landbank of the Philippines.

The resolution authorizes the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to administer the distribution of the funds to qualified victims, their heirs, or representatives.

The Human Rights Victims' Claims Board (HRVCB), which is mandated to process claims and distribute the financial reparation for victims of human rights violation during the Marcos martial rule, has ceased to function since its sunset on May 12, 2018.

According to the resolution, only 11,103 legitimate claimants out of more than 75,000 applicants had been approved by the HRCVB as of May 11, 2018.

However, the HRVCB was only able to completely resolve the 6,737 appeals on May 6, 2018, or six days before the expiry of its existence.

The checks issued by the HRVCB for the human rights victims have validity of only three months.

As of June 28, the HRCVB account with the Landbank of the Philippines reported a balance of PHP792.628 million. The funds shall be maintained until August 11, 2018, after which the balance will be reverted to the Bureau of Treasury.

"Without immediate intervention, many human rights victims will be denied the monetary reparation, intended for them," Zarate said.

"While no amount of monetary reparation will restore lost lives, properties, broken relations and dreams of the human rights victims and their families, the reparation is important for them, as it forms part of the overall recognition of the reality of human rights violations and their immeasurable suffering under the Marcos regime," he added.

The amount of PHP10 billion was allotted for the reparation of the human rights victims. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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