President Benigno Aquino 3rd has finally created the long-awaited Human Rights Victims Claims Board for victims of martial law.
The President appointed former police Gen. Lina Castillo Sarmiento as head of the board, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. The eight members of the panel chosen by Aquino are Wilfred Asis, Galuasch Ballaho, Byron Bocar, Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Glenda Litong, Jacqueline Veloria Mejia, Aurora Corazon Parong and Erlinda Senturias.
Coloma said the compensation board will receive, evaluate, process and investigate applications for claims.
The panel will also “conduct independent administrative proceedings and resolve disputes,” he said.
Besides processing the claims applications, the board will also approve all eligible claims and draw up the implementing rules and regulations for the reparation of martial law victims.
The board will have 30 days to organize itself. Within 15 days from the date of its organization, it must promulgate the rules and regulations for the implementation of the law.
The rules will take effect 15 days after its publication in two national newspapers of general circulation. The martial law victims have six months from the effectivity of the rules to file applications for reparation.
The claims board has two years to complete its work of determining the amount of compensation for each victim.
The board was created in pursuant with the provisions of Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims’ Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which Aquino signed last year. The law aims to distribute P10 billion from the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses to human rights victims.
The President had said RA 10368 seeks to “right the wrongs of the past.”
“We may not bring back the time stolen from martial law victims, but we can assure them of the state’s recognition of their sufferings that will help bring them closer to the healing of their wounds,” Aquino said.