Claims Board agrees
to Selda demand for early distribution of reparation and speed up
processing of applications
January 22, 2017
QUEZON CITY – The
Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) agreed to the demand made by
SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) and human
rights victims to start distributing the reparation and speed up the
processing of claims of martial law victims during a meeting with
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte on January 19 in Malacanang.
SELDA sought Pres. Duterte’s
intervention to expedite the process of recognition and
indemnification of thousands of victims who toppled the Marcos
dictatorship in 1986. Leaders and officials of SELDA met with the
President for the first time on Jan. 17 at the Palace. They told the
President that despite the passage of the reparation law four years
ago the victims, many of whom are old and ailing, have yet to receive
recognition and compensation. Worse, the Board has processed only
30,000 applications, not even half of the total 75,000 applications.
“This snail-paced system
that has been the practice of the Claims Board for the last three
years which could remain unfinished until the sunset year of the
Board’s tenure in 2018 is victimizing the already-victimized victim,”
commented Marie Hilao-Enriquez SELDA Chair who attended the said
Pres. Duterte agreed that
indeed the processing is to slow and summoned the Board to speed up
the processing and distribution of the compensation funds for the
At the January 19 dialogue
called by President Duterte between the HRVCB and SELDA, human rights
victims scored a victory when the HRVCB agreed to expedite the
reparation and recognition of Martial Law human rights victims.
The HRVCB will partially
award in advance the indemnification of the already approved
applicants of human rights violations victim claimants numbering in
thousands as of January 18, 2017. It is also agreed that the partial
indemnification shall be done within a sixty days period.
Consequently, non-monetary reparation will also be made available for
the victims who seek assistance from Department of Health (DOH),
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and TESDA.
“Though the victory is
incomplete and partial, it gives hope to the victims who are already
old and ailing. SELDA will continue to press for the speedy processing
of the remaining forty-five thousands applicants so that justice and
indemnification to the victims will be rendered”, said Enriquez.
Also, SELDA assures to help
the HRVCB in the processing of the partial payment and other
requirements that entail coordination.
SELDA expressed deep concern
on the high fall rate of invalid applicants out of the initially
processed 30,000 of which only 9,000 were approved. Likewise, it will
also look in to the validity of the Claims Board statement that only
3,000 Hawaii claimants had applied for reparation and recognition out
of the original 9,539 class action suit members. It must be recalled
that the Hawaii Claimants were accorded conclusive-presumption
according to the law (RA 10368).
Justice must be served to
all Martial Law victims who were recognized by law when the Republic
Act 10368 was signed and approved into law in February 2013. However,
the Human Rights Victims Claims Board(HRVCB), takes a slow pace in
processing the 75,730 applicants since it was created in 2014.
No less than the President
Duterte himself, during the January 17 dialogue with SELDA officials
and leaders stated that the slow paced reparation process and
recognition is a violation of the law itself and an injustice to the
thousands of victims of Marcos martial law. He also promised to
expedite the process.
Likewise, President Duterte
and SELDA agreed that there should be an immediate and advance
reparation for the already approved claimants.
During the last dialogue,
the HRVCB agreed to write the Commission on Audit (COA) to seek for an
exemption on the publication of the accredited claimants to hasten the
advance and partial compensation. According to the law, it is required
that only after processing all the total claimants and its approved
list in order that the awarding of monetary and non-monetary
compensation could commence, there should be publications of
accredited lists of claimants in three consecutive weeks on broadsheet
At present, the Claims Board
had already spent P136.17 M for its operations from the P10 B allotted
fund for reparation. It has fifteen (15) remaining months to complete
its tasks and implement the law.
SELDA shall also look into
the matter of Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission
which is according to the law should be created which until now is
never implemented. The law also stipulates the “The lessons learned
from Martial Law atrocities and the lives and sacrifices of HRVVs
shall be included in the basic and higher education curricula, as well
as in continuing adult learning, prioritizing those most prone to
commit human rights violations (n, 27)." SELDA is looking forward to
the day that all victims of Martial Law by a dictator, plunderer and
human rights violator Ferdinand Marcos will be recognized and given