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Duterte orders release of compensation for victims of martial law abuses,MUST READ!

HE may profess to admire the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos and his martial-law regime, but President Rodrigo R. Duterte has also ordered the immediate release of “initial” compensation for around 4,000 martial law victims under the Marcos dictatorship.

Mr. Duterte made the directive during his 15-minute meeting with members of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) and key Cabinet members on Thursday, Jan. 19, at MalacaƱang. SELDA is a veteran human-rights group dating back to the dictatorship.

In a phone interview, SELDA Vice-Chairman Bonifacio P. Ilagan said the “impetus” to hasten the release of compensation for martial law victims came from Mr. Duterte himself.

Mr. Ilagan added tHat the Palace meeting was requested by SELDA and was “initiated” by Mr. Duterte, who was “concerned about the problem.”




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“The victims are waiting and we thought that the process was not quick enough to support their needs because some of the victims had died already and they really need this kind of help,” Mr. Ilagan said.

According to the SELDA official, more than 75,000 people were victims of human rights abuses during martial rule, but “not one” has received any compensation from the government since the creation of HRVCB in 2013 by Mr. Duterte’s predecessor through Republic Act (RA) No. 10368.

As of December 2016, the HRVCB has processed 30,000 applications of these victims -- which included the verification of genuine applicants. Meanwhile, only 4,000 have approved applications.

As mandated by RA 10368, the claims board must follow a point system, ranging from one to ten, in determining the corresponding indemnification for the victims. The range is as follows:



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• Victims who died or who disappeared and are still missing shall be given ten (10) points;

• Victims who were tortured and/or raped or sexually abused shall he given six (6) to nine (9) points:

• Victims who were detained shall be given three (3) to five (5) points; and

• Victims whose rights were violated through “intimidation causing the involuntary exile of a person” and “deceit causing unjust or illegal takeover of business and property” shall be given one (1) to two (2) points.

According to Mr. Ilagan, the HRVCB bared during its presentation that one point is equivalent to approximately P20,000 -- which he said made Mr. Duterte “medyo malungkot (a bit sad).”

Also present at the meeting were Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, who presided over the rest of the meeting after the “so busy” Mr. Duterte left, Mr. Ilagan said.




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IN THE FUTURE

The option to declare Martial Law has become a frequent theme of Mr. Duterte’s impromptu speeches apart from his war on narcotics.

It is also on Mr. Duterte’s watch that Mr. Marcos’s remains were finally buried at the heroes’ cemetery, in unannounced military ceremonies, after decades of lobbying by the family.

Mr. Ilagan, himself a victim of martial law abuses, said in the same phone interview that these issues were not discussed during the Palace meeting, but added that his organization plans to raise these concerns to the President in the future.

“Unang-una nabuksan na yung line ng political detainees with the Office of the President. So I think magandang mabuksan kasi in line naman with our being victims of human rights violations noong martial law yung aming sasabihin sa kanya na yung sentimyento namin, the burial against you know, yung mga concerns na yon,” he said.

(First and foremost, the line of political detainees with the Office of the President has been opened. So I think that’s good because our sentiments, as with regards to the Marcos burial, are in line with us being victims of human rights violations during martial law.)




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