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President Duterte orders 'immediate release' of compensation for martial law victims

President 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 Malacañang. 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.”

“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.
Krissia Luchansky
Photo credit to www.arkibongbayan.org - PTPA Krissia Luchansky
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:

• 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.

President Duterte orders 'immediate release' of compensation for martial law victims President Duterte orders 'immediate release' of compensation for martial law victims Reviewed by Raelyn Luchansky on 12:19:00 AM Rating: 5

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