HRVCB processing 150 to 200 compensation claims daily from victims of human rights violations PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 14 September 2014 14:10

By LEILANI S.JUNIO   ANGELICA A. ABUAN

 

The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) is processing and documenting an average of 150 to 200 compensations claims daily from the victims of human rights violations during the martial law regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

This was disclosed by Dr. Aurora Corazon A. Parong, a member of the HRVCB, who said that as of Sept. 10, 2014, they have received a total of 14,338 applications for claims under Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims’ Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

The HRVCB office is located at the Virata Hall of the Institute of Small-Scale Industries (ISSI) Bldg. in Jacinto St., University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

The Board is chaired by Lina C. Sarmiento, the former chief of the Directorate for Police Community Relations and the first woman to head a national support unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“About 150 to 200 compensation claims are being filed here everyday (Monday to Friday) and almost the same number is also being accommodated by our teams in areas where we have set up regional desks as part of our caravan schedule,” Dr. Parong said in an interview on Wednesday.

She said that to accommodate the receiving of applications and address some problems they frequently encounter within the filing period, they recently set aside the evaluation and resolution to give way for the processing of the submission of applications since the filing period will end two months from now.

She cited that one of the problems they encounter in receiving applications for compensation pertains to incomplete documents being submitted by claimants which are being checked and pre-evaluated by the board’s para-legal staff as part of the documentation process before an applicant/claimant can be given an acknowledgement receipt.

“In that case, we and our para-legal staff explain to them how important it is to provide us with the documents because that will serve as a basis to protect also the interest of the legitimate claimants,” Parong said.

She also said that they have to show patiently to the applicants an example of a properly filled-up application form and the basic requirements that should be presented such as detailed notarized statement about the human rights violation, government-issued IDs and NSO/locally-issued birth certificate to expedite the process.

“We are also requiring them to submit supporting documents that can prove human rights violations such as release papers, Presidential Commitment Order, police blotter, newspaper reports, affidavit of two knowledgeable persons on what human rights violation occurred or other proof,” she added.

“We also advise applicant-victims or heirs of the victims to prepare the necessary documents before submitting their applications. We need the originals and one photocopy of the document,” she explained.

The said the documents for the legal heirs should consist of birth certificate, marriage certificate, affidavit, death certificate and picture of the human rights victim, special power of attorney from other legal heirs authorizing the claimant to represent them.

For physically incapacitated and mentally or psychologically disabled, notarized authorization, proof of filiation, picture of the human rights victim and medical certificate are also being required.

She also appealed to big groups of claimants to notify them earlier so that they can make necessary adjustments and preparation in the processing, receiving and documentation of applications.

“Please understand that each team can only accommodate about 200-250 applicants per day, both at the U.P. office and at the mobile caravan,” she said.

The HRVCB has been accepting applications since May 12, 2014 from Monday to Friday at the Virata Hall in U.P. Diliman. The application period will end on Nov. 10, 2014.

The HRVCB earlier said that failure to file claims by victims of human rights abuse during the martial law years will mean a waiver.

After the said period, it is then when evaluation and resolution will be undertaken by the HRVCB. The preliminary list of eligible claimants will be published in major newspapers which can then be opposed by some groups who have documents that can dispute the claims by filing complaints and question the veracity of the listed claimants.

The board will then come out with a resolution or decision on the appeal which will then lead to the publication of the final list of eligible claimants who will be given monetary reward based on the computed list and points for the abuses committed.

The distribution of monetary award or compensation will be done in 2016 or within two years after the start of claim applications.

The HRVCB was created by virtue of R.A. 10368 signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III in February 2013.

Under R.A. 10368, the Philippine government acknowledges the heroism and sacrifices of those who suffered abuses by the authoritarian regime under former President Marcos.

The said law provides State’s obligation to recognize them and provide reparations or monetary compensation.

This is a separate process from that of the Honolulu court class suit which is a judicial process in Hawaii.

The principal source of funds for the implementation of R.A. 10368 is the Php10-billion plus accrued interest which forms part of the funds transferred to the government of the Republic of the Philippines from Switzerland by virtue of an Order of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in 1997.

This was adjudged by the Supreme Court of the Philippines in 2003 as final and executory in Republic of the Philippines vs. Sandiganbayan (G.R. No. 152154) as Marcos ill-gotten wealth and forfeited in favor of the government.

After the distribution of compensation and recognition to the victims, the names of the victims will be enshrined in the Roll of Human Rights Victims that will be turned over to the Human Rights Victims Memorial Commission which is tasked to establish a museum, library and compendium of stories during martial law.