Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Nov. 10 is deadline for Martial Law victims' applications for repatriation, recognition

The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) has announced that deadline for filing of application for the reparation and/or recognition of human rights victims during the Martial Law is on November 10, 2014.

Atty. Glenda T. Litong, member of the HRVCB, said that only those victims of the Martial Law can apply for claims and the equivalent claims will depend on the extent of damage of the human rights violation made.

“A claimant should either be the victim or the legal heir of the victim. It is a one- victim one- claim process,” she said.

Referring to RA 10368 otherwise known as the “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013″, she said it is the obligation of the state to repair damages and recognize heroism and sacrifices of its people. “Through this law, the heroism and sacrifices of human rights violations victims (HTVVs) during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos covering the period from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986 is recognized. It likewise acknowledges its moral and local obligation to recognize and provide reparation to the victims,” said Atty. Litong.

HRVCB started accepting application since May 12, 2014 and the deadline will be on November 10, 2014. Forms are downloadable in the internet.

Those who did not make it during their visit in Sorsogon, application may still be done at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Office in Washington, Legazpi City or at the Office of the Human Rights Victims' Claims Board at E. Virata Hall, E. Jacinto St., UP Diliman Complex, Quezon City or they may contact cellphone number: 099950599737 or may visit their website: www.hrvclaimsboard.gov.ph  or at  secretariat@hrvcb.gov.ph for further inquiries.

According to Atty. Litong, the victims will be compensated from the USD 10-Billion awarded by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to the victims with a condition that the Philippine government will secure a favorable court ruling that the Swiss account is part of the ill-gotten wealth secretly hidden by former President Marcos, his family and cronies. The amount is now with the National Treasury ready for disbursement as soon as the requirements are met.

The processing of accepted claims may be subject to investigation of the claims board. HRVCB made clear that the amount of claim will be determined by points system, from one to ten.

Included in the list of HRVs are 1) killed, 2) disappeared and still missing, 3) tortured, 4) raped or sexually abused, 5) illegally detained, 6) involuntarily exiled, 7) unjust or illegal take-over of business/confiscation of property/detention of owner(s) and/or of their families/deprivation of livelihood, 8) victim's child kidnapped or exploited, 9) sexually offended during detention and/or in the course of the military and/or police operations, and other violations and/or abuses similar or analogous to 8 and 9.

The victims or legal heirs need to fill up the application, and establish proof of human rights violations through a Sworn Statement narrating circumstance of HRV, Sworn Statement of two co-detainees or persons who have personal knowledge of the circumstance surrounding the HRV, warrant of arrest or seizure orders or other similar document, Certification by Custodial Government Agencies on fact of detention or police blotter or other similar document, release papers, declassified documents from the Department of National Defense, court records, photographs with affidavit of proper authentication, original or duly certified lawyer's records, and others documents that may be required.

In case the victim is already dead or still missing, legal heir or authorized representative of the victims may file the application.

According to Atty. Litong, victims can receive monetary and non-monetary assistance and recognition from the HRVCB as provided for by RA 10368. She, however, clarified that if until November 10, 2014, the victims failed to file their claims, they will consider to have waived their right to apply for claims.

Some 150 daily applicants for four days were assisted by the HRVCB in Sorsogon during their provincial in-take here.

The HRVCB is a quasi-judicial body created to receive, evaluate and process claims, awards reparation, and recognize the victims by enshrining their names in the Roll of Human Rights Violations Victims.

The claims board under the law was given an operational budget not to exceed fifty million pesos in the entirety of its existence. (MAL/BAR-PIA5/Sorsogon)

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