SELDA to Aquino govt: Whatever happened to the Board to process claims of martial law victims?

Two months into passage of the Reparation and Recognition Act
SELDA to Aquino govt: Whatever happened to the Board to process claims of martial law victims?

Rights group SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) questioned the Aquino government’s failure to form the Human Rights Victims Claims Board which will process the application for reparation and recognition of martial law victims.

“It has been two months since Pres. Aquino signed the bill into law. What is taking the government so long to take the initial step to implement the law? Are the martial law victims in for a very long wait again?” SELDA national coordinator Roneo Clamor asked.

RA 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 requires that a Human Rights Victims Claims Board be formed within 30 days so it can proceed to formulate the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) after which it can start with its evaluation and processing of the claims of the martial law victims under the Marcos dictatorship.

According to SELDA, it was bad enough that the guidelines for nominations to the Board was never communicated to them which, per provision of the law, is one of the human rights organizations which “may submit nominations” to the Claims Board.

Nevertheless, SELDA submitted five names on March 12: its national chairperson, a multi-awarded artist who was twice detained, a UP College of Medicine faculty member, a lawyer from Cebu and another from General Santos City. Tanggol Bayi nominated a former congresswoman and a former member of the UP Board of Regents. They are individuals “with integrity, competence and probity and who understand the plight of the martial law victims.”

“It has been more than a month and way past the deadline. The absence of information about the Claims Board raises questions as to Malacanang’s transparency in forming the Board and the possibility that for political reasons not even one of SELDA’s nominees will be appointed. This will deprive the victims of a genuine voice in the Board,” Clamor explained.

“We seriously hope that the Human Rights Victims Claims Board will be composed soonest. Martial Law victims cannot afford to be disenfranchised, much more neglected again. The law was a victory for the victims. We cannot allow our efforts to be put to waste. Without the Claims Board and the IRR, the law is lifeless,” Clamor stressed.

SELDA is the organization that initiated the class action suit against former dictator Marcos. ###

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