By ROD ASURIN
TABUK CITY, Kalinga — About a hundred martial law victims here appealed before the Sanguniang Panlalawigan for the reconsideration of their denied applications for martial law reparation submitted to the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB).
According to Agustina Bangit, her late husband was a victim of human rights violations during the martial law. She said that the HRVCB has denied her application on the grounds that her own statement is “copied/same with that of the statement of the witness”, said in the notice letter sent to her by the HR claims board.
The Martial Law Victims Reparation Law or the Republic Act 10368 primarily authored by the Bayan Muna Partylist, awards reparations to the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime with the budget from some P10 billion ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, in a Swiss Bank.
In this reparation law, there were some 75, 000 applications submitted to the human rights claims board who served as board to receive and evaluate applications. Of the 75,000 applicants there are only 11,000 who were granted and all the rest were denied.
According to Atty. Mary Grace Valdez of the Commission on Human Rights in the region, she said that there was an opposition filed against the applications which may have caused them to turn-down most of it denied. When asked about the identity of the opposition, she said does not know as the victims’ claims board did not tell them. She said that the CHR can’t interfere with the work of the victims’ claims board, an independent agency, and now the said claims board is now ended, with its mandate already revoked.
Aside from those who have been denied, there are also new applicants who said they did not know about the reparations, and where they could get application forms so that they were not able to apply.
In the hearing at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, martial law victims told cases of murder, rape, torture and other human rights violations inflicted on them which qualifies them to rightly claim for reparations.
In response, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan agreed to pass a resolution addressed to congress seeking the extension of applications, and to the office of Human Rights Chair Chito Gascon to establish a local Human Right Desk to assist claimants. # nordis.net