By JHAMES PAREDES
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan — Martial law victims from Cagayan and Isabela gathered in this city to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law and renew their call for justice and recognition.
Leaders of Hustisya, a broad alliance of victims of human rights violations, held an assembly at the Archbishops Residence in the city. The meeting tackled their call for Congress to file a new bill that will address the countless more “unrecognized” victims of Martial law.
They also discussed the updates on the status of reparation for the victims. Among those given attention in the meeting were the possible legal and political obstacles in their demand for another reparation.
According to Karapatan Cagayan Valley secretary-general Jacky Valencia, they talked about possible steps to hurdle the difficulties experienced during the filing of those who did not qualify with the recent rounds of compensation.
Under Republic Act (RA) No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 as amended by R.A. 10766, the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) ended its operation on May 12 last year. The HRVCB determined 11,103 out of the 75,730 claimants as eligible for monetary reparations.
“What we can do now is to strengthen our lobbying with the respective congressmen in our provinces to support our calls for justice and recognition,” said Valencia.
Valencia also warned the martial law victims against frauds from doubtful organizations who promise large sums of money.
“These groups seek to malign and discredit the decades-long movement for the recognition of Martial law victims. While it is well within our democratic freedoms to assert our right to be recognized, let us not fall prey to the evils of disinformation. There are no current claims being processed,” she explained.
Meanwhile, Mila Legaspi, a victim of abduction and illegal detention during martial law, warned that they are witnessing the resurrection of another authoritarian rule under Duterte.
She recounted the torture she endured from 1980-1982, and how she was forced to surrender under false claims of state elements that she was a member of the New People’s army.
“This scare tactics employed by the state against civilians perceived as enemies of the state continue to happen and even intensified under the current administration,” lamented Legaspi.
After the assembly, the leaders attended the mass for the remembrance for Martial Law victims celebrated by Archbishop of Tuguegarao Sergio Utleg.
In his homily, the prelate underscored that Martial Law is a “dark period in the history” that every Filipino should not forget. # nordis.net