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SELDA hits delisting of martial law victims anew

News Release
4 February 2013
Include all 9,539 Hawaii class suit members

SELDA hits delisting of martial law victims anew

SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) reiterated its demand to reinstate the 2,013 names of delisted Martial Law victims who should receive reparation in any of the settlement agreements.

The 2,013 delisted names are part of 9,539 victims recognized by the Hawaii court who filed a class suit against former president Ferdinand Marcos in the Federal Court of Honolulu in Hawaii in 1986.

According to Marie-Hilao Enriquez, the Hawaii court shouldn’t have wantonly delisted members of the class suit based merely on the reason that they failed to reply to letters sent by the Hawaii court asking for verification of their identity.

“Delisting the victims who were part of those who went after the Marcoses is a grave injustice. They were arbitrarily dropped from the list without notice and without due process, denying them of their right to reparation.  We reiterate our demand to Judge Real to revert to the old list of Martial Law victims,” said Enriquez.

In October last year, SELDA filed an opposition on the delisting of members at the Hawaii court, stating that there has been an executory judgment by the U.S. Court of Appeals dated December 17, 1996 that the number of victims who were qualified reparation remain at 9,539.

“This only means that the victims shouldn’t be given more burden to write to the Hawaii courts, or confirm their identities because they have already been recognized as legitimate class suit members and victims,” said Enriquez.

The filed opposition also said that class suit members come from different parts of the archipelago, and many of them are ordinary farmers and workers who may not have the financial means and resources to immediately respond to the said reply required by the court. Many more belong to the informal settlers – the urban poor people who might have been moved from their original residences due to forced evictions and demolitions of their abodes.

“We shouldn’t aggravate their burden anymore, as justice has been so elusive from them. Until now, they are still demanding for the actual implementation of the law recognizing Martial Law victims,” said Enriquez.

SELDA hit the continuous non-implementation of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act. It has been almost a year since Pres. Aquino signed the law, but until now, no claims board has been formed. The claims board is the body responsible for the process of recognition and reparation of the 9,539 victims and others who were not part of the Hawaii class suit. ###

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson, 0917-5616800

Notice to Hawaii Class Suit Members RE: Monet Settlement

Date of 2nd DistributionDOWNLOAD THIS

 


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Political Prisoners’ 10 Alternatives on the Use of Pork Barrel

Political Prisoners' 10 Alternatives on the Use of Pork Barrel


Immediately release political prisoners on humanitarian grounds

Letter to the Editor

Decades after the Martial Law years, the Philippines continues to face the grim reality of the existence of political prisoners. Whether under the fascist Marcos dictatorship or “democratic” administrations after him, the rights of political prisoners are repeatedly violated as they are slapped with fabricated charges, arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained. Many of them are tortured and denied their right to counsel and due process.  They suffer subhuman prison conditions and prolonged imprisonment,and  intentionally slowed down judicial process.

We are calling for the immediate release of political prisoners on humanitarian grounds, which include the ailing and the elderly (60 years old and above). As of August 2013, there are 449 political prisoners in different detention centers all over the country. 154 of them were arrested under the Noynoy Aquino government, a significantly large number for an administration that denies the existence of political prisoners. There are 48 ailing political prisoners that need medical attention, while 28 prisoners belong to the elderly and 35 are women.

The poor and inadequate  health services that the government provides endanger the lives of the relatively more vulnerable sick and elderly political prisoners. The meager budget allotted to prison inmates makes jails and detention centers barely habitable, unsafe and hazardous to the health and general well-being of prisoners.  Keeping the sick and elderly political prisoners longer in prison leads to serious health complications that could be life-threatening.

Take the case of  Alison Alcantara, 55, who suffered from uncontrolled diabetes the past years and recently died of pneumonia, sepsis and fatal arrhythmia after falling into a coma at the New Bilibid Prisons.  Ramon Argente, 53, from the Camarines Norte Provincial Jail has just undergone a triple heart by-pass at the Philippine Heart Center. Bringing him back to prison will not in any way help in his speedy recovery, aside from the fact that his detention has been a violation of his rights since day one when he was arrested without warrant on a variety of trumped-up charges.

And who are the the political prisoners? They are activists, farmers and workers, students, professionals, cultural workers. Just recently, a physicist and activist, Kim Gargar, was arrested and detained in Mati, Davao Oriental while performing his work as a scientist. The military now feasts on tagging him as a member of the New People’s Army. Red-tagging and vilification against political prisoners by state security forces have become standard fare to justify the political prisoners’ continued detention and stripping of their rights.

To obfuscate the political nature of the offenses attributed to government critics and people resisting administration policies and programs that harm the majority of the people, criminal charges are filed against them, usually with insufficient or planted evidence.  There is no place for political prisoners in a country supposedly democratic and treading a “righteous path.”

Please join the families and friends of political prisoners, human rights advocates and SELDA, the organization of former political detainees, in the campaign to FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS.  In the immediate, let us all work for the release on humanitarian grounds of the sick and elderly political prisoners.

MARIE HILAO-ENRIQUEZ, chairperson, SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto)
# 1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Sts. Brgy. Central Quezon City

Aquino gov’t denies proper medical attention, puts ailing political detainees “on death row,” says SELDA

Press Release
October 8, 2013

Rights group SELDA said that by deliberately denying proper medical treatment on ailing political detainees, the Aquino government is “putting them on death row.”

This is all in a stark contrast of what the Aquino is treating Janet Lim-Napoles, an accused plunderer involved in multi-billion pork scams, now billeted in Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa City enjoying the comfort and amenities of the rich and (in)famous, according to the group.

“We are enraged at the double standard treatment of inmates under the Aquino administration. Political prisoners who are victims of false and trumped-up charges are treated like dirt in prison facilities.  While, according to them, those who skimmed government funds with the collaborations of certain high government officials are given with the most elaborate security, high food allowances, air-conditioned rooms, regular monitoring of medical status, easy communication with the outside world, liberal visiting procedures, among other privileges. Surely, this is how the government treats one of its own – in a crook’s prison haven, while political prisoners rot in hellish prison holes.” SELDA national coordinator Jigs Clamor said.

Clamor added that by continuously denying them to be treated immediately and properly given medical care, the government is endangering more lives of political prisoners. Many of them, according to SELDA, have medical conditions that, if left untreated, are vulnerable to more serious complications of diseases.

Ramon Argente now confined at the Philippine Heart Center, Quezon City

Ramon Argente now confined at the Philippine Heart Center, Quezon City

SELDA is calling for immediate attention as another political prisoner, peasant organizer Ramon Argente, 53, needs an immediate coronary artery bypass surgery to save him from coronary heart disease. He is confined at the Philippine Heart Center since September 26.

“Argente, among other political prisoners, has not been even proven guilty of the trumped-up charges filed against them. His rights, along with his co-accused have been violated since day one of arrest. They were arrested without warrant, held incommunicado for days after their arrest, and denied of counsel – all of which are violations to their right to due process, freedom and safety,” Clamor said.

Argente, along with union organizers Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano, have been charged with several and varying counts of murder, theft and frustrated murder before the Regional Trial Court Branch 64 in Labo, Camarines Norte. A total of 32 individuals were included in the said charges, where four have been arrested including Vegas, Camposano and Argente.

The charges are said to be in connection with their alleged participation in an ambush by the New People’s Army (NPA) against the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Maot, Labo, Camarines Norte in the eastern part of Luzon, April 29.

Millions for plunderers, centavos for political prisoners

The group also decried the continuous denial of the government to pay for the hospitalization expenses of political prisoners. For heart bypass alone, Clamor said that the family of Argente is asked to raise around Php700,000.00.

“By all means, these should be shouldered by the state. This amount cannot even be compared to what the government is spending to take care of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Napoles. We pay for every single centavo to save lives of plunderers and wrongdoers, while we let those wrongly accused die from crimes they did not even commit. This is injustice at the very core,” Clamor said.

Alison Alcantara during his confinement at the Philippine General Hospital

Alison Alcantara during his confinement at the Philippine General Hospital

Argente is one of the 48 ailing political prisoners that need proper and immediate medical attention, according to SELDA.  One of them, Alison Alcantara, died last month due to fatal arrhytmia, sepsis and health associated pneumonia.

“His life could have been saved if only he was accorded of his rights to healthcare as a prisoner,” Clamor said.

SELDA is calling on the release of all sick and elderly political prisoners on humanitarian grounds, including those who have served a long time in prison.

“This is also the reason why SELDA joins the growing movement for the abolition of all forms of pork barrel.  The government should allot and re-channel the pork barrel funds to improve prison conditions in detention centers all over the country, among other basic social services which should be provided to the people,” Clamor said. ###

Reference: Jigs Clamor, SELDA National Coordinator, 0917-5965859

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Invitation to KAKAUSA: Solidarity visits to political prisoners in the Philippines

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Dear Friends,

 

Greetings of solidarity!

We are inviting you to be a part of our recent project to highlight the campaign to free all political prisoners in the country.

The project is dubbed “Kakausa: Solidarity visits to political prisoners in the Philippines” and will commence on October 25, Friday (in time for the National Correctional Consciousness Week), at the Custodial Center of Camp Crame in Quezon City. Attached with this letter is the concept paper and invitational poster for the activity.

We are also encouraging everyone, especially those who will are not available on the scheduled visit, to help contribute or acquire donations of art materials and/or musical instruments/accessories for use of political prisoners.

Do contact us for any questions and clarifications via publicinfo@karapatan.org or (02)4354146.

Let us join hands in the campaign for justice and human rights in the call to Free all Political Prisoners.


Karapatan reminds Aquino: Same social ills that caused the ouster of two presidents perpetrated by your regime

SAM_0173
Press Release | Karapatan
September 21, 2013

Government bureaucrats and their legions in and out of the bureaucracy live on people’s hard labor to load their bank accounts, build business empires, acquire expensive houses here and abroad, buy the most expensive luxury items to indulgence themselves, and to wine, dine, and dance.

Landlords, transnational mining companies, agri-business plantations rob peasants and indigenous peoples of their lands. Capitalists rake in profits by keeping workers’ wages at bare minimum. Private corporations, in cahoots with the government, forcibly evict urban poor dwellers and demolish their houses. The youth are kept out of school because of high education costs, and the sick die without proper medical treatment or even die without seeing a doctor.

The government’s armed forces and paramilitary groups tag civilians as communists. They threaten, harass, arrest, throw false charges against the civilians, detain, and torture them. The armed forces and paramilitary groups abduct civilians, and civilians either disappear or surface dead; armed forces bomb communities of civilians; civilians leave their homes and sources of livelihood to go to evacuation centers.

US and Philippine governments say US troops are here to protect the country from foreign intervention. Without regard for the country’s sovereignty, the President allows the US troops and its warships to enter the country freely. In exchange, the US government gives military aid to improve the fighting capability of Philippine troops to undertake counter-insurgency measures against the Filipino people.

Yes, the images are Marcosian. And, yes the images capture what is currently happening under the Aquino government.  But, the reality is far more biting than these images. People’s lives are on the line, and the children’s future is at stake.

From Marcos through the Aquino government, this reality was never interrupted. The exact names of players may be different, but they are essentially the same. In fact, many survived from Marcos through BS Aquino, to name a few: Marcos-turned-Cory Aquino ally, Juan Ponce Enrile, presidential uncle Danding Cojuangco, business tycoon Lucio Tan who, under the BS Aquino presidency, got off the hook from cases on ill-gotten wealth. Needless to say, the Marcoses and other political dynasties are very much alive.

BS Aquino did not do anything substantial to change all these. He and his spinmeisters merely churned out PR spins, sound bites and surveys meant to condition public opinion.

But, the reality of skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, demolition and forced eviction of thousands of urban poor dwellers, deceptive land reform schemes such as the Hacienda Luisita case, the privatization of almost all public hospitals, high-cost of education, and continuing human rights violations far outweighs lies and spins.

As of August 30, Karapatan-documented cases of extrajudicial killings have gone up to 153, and frustrated extrajudicial killing to 168. There are now 449 political detainees; while documented victims of forced eviction and demolition are almost 13,000 and, forced evacuation nearing 32,000.

And, whatever effect these spins had on the people were finally wiped out when the 10-billion-peso pork barrel scam exploded. People are back on the streets protesting, not only against the scam, but against the pork barrel system, and corruption in general that is committed with impunity.

Widespread protest on the streets, in schools, in workplaces, and in urban and rural areas. In one voice the workers, peasants, women, youth and students, teachers, indigenous peoples, government employees, lawyers, doctors and other professionals, religious leaders and church people call for change, shouted “Enough is enough! Sobra na, tama na!”

BS Aquino should be reminded that such call reverberated and resulted to the ouster of two presidents of the Republic.

Today, as we commemorate the 41st year of the imposition of martial law, the people say “Never Again!” to the same rotten system — of corruption and plunder, injustice, subservience to US dictates, and violations of the people’s rights—perpetuated by the BS Aquino regime. ###


#BreakFreeFromPork

BREAK FREE September 19 copy#BreakFreeFromPork: September 19 is the national day of protest of political prisoners for the abolition of #PorkBarrel

While plunderers and human rights violators remain free from arrest or given special treatment under “detention”, 449 activists are detained because of trumped-up criminal charges.

In one voice, they say: “Even though we are behind bars, our spirits are soaring high to be with the people against corruption and bureaucrat capitalism.”


SELDA members troop to Malacanang, assail Noynoy Aquino’s inaction on RA 10368

SAM_2013Press Release
September 10, 2013

Members of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) together with the surviving victims of human rights violations during martial law and their relatives trooped to Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) Bridge to express their grievances and assailed the continued inaction of the Aquino administration in implementing the Human Rights Victims Recognition and Reparation Act of 2013 otherwise known as RA 10368.

President Benigno Aquino III signed the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 into a law in February, in time for the 27th anniversary of EDSA People Power I Uprising.

“To date, after almost seven months, the law has not been implemented because since its signing, President Noynoy Aquino has not appointed members of  the Human Rights Claims Board as stipulated in the law.  The Human Rights Victims Claims Board shall process, evaluate and approve application for claims of reparation and recognition. Further, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) will also be made by the board.  Thus, without the Human Rights Victims Claims Board and its implementing rules and regulations, the law becomes inutile,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of SELDA.

SELDA asks why and what it is taking the President so long in implementing the law.  ‘We are afraid that one reason why President Aquino is taking his own sweet time to form the Board is for him to exclude SELDA – nominees from being members of the Board.  We in SELDA also hope that Palace officials have not dipped their fingers into the P10 B fund for victims’ reparation, and would not go the way of the scandalous pork barrel system.”

“We can no longer take Noynoy Aquino’s foot-dragging on the law while almost every month or week, a martial law victim dies. “Aanhin pa ang damo, kung patay na ang kabayo.” It adds insult to injury of martial law victims and their relatives when the said law is not given the immediate and appropriate attention by the Aquino government.” Enriquez concluded. ###

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson, 0917-5616800

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SELDA pays tribute to Atty. Romeo Candazo, 61

Atty. Romeo Candazo

Atty. Romeo Candazo

 
PRESS STATEMENT
20 August 2013

SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) pays its highest tribute to Atty. Romeo Candazo, youth activist, public servant, journalist, educator, human rights lawyer, and as a former political detainee during the Martial Law years, one of the founding members of SELDA.

A scholar during his college days at the University of the Philippines, Atty. Candazo was active in the struggle against the Marcos regime which cost him his freedom many times during the Martial Law years.

In 1985, he was one of the former political detainees who took the initiative of founding SELDA. The first SELDA Board was composed of Fidel Agcaoili, Julieta de Lima-Sison, Joaquin “Don Chino” Roces, Jake Almeda Lopez, Francisco Rodrigo, Jose Mari Velez, Benjamin Guingona, Danilo Vizmanos and Romeo Candazo.

As one of the major organizations that gathered the thousands of victims during Martial Law, SELDA was able to file the historic class suit against the Marcoses in 1986. The stories both of suffering and of courage of Atty. Candazo and other victims who came forward to let the world know of their experiences be known, are now the basis for the continuing struggle for recognition and reparation for Martial Law victims.

It is with deep regret that we in SELDA learned of his death without him witnessing the implementation of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013. Atty. Candazo may have served well as one of the members of the Claims Board, the primary body to identify Martial Law victims who deserve recognition and reparation. If Pres. Aquino is not taking his own sweet time in implementing the law, Atty. Candazo should have seen the fruits of his struggle while he was still alive.

Most of the Martial Law victims are either ill or suffer old age, their health conditions worsened by the physical and emotional torture they experienced at the time of their imprisonment. Almost every month, we pay tribute to SELDA members and Martial Law victims, who were still able to attend meetings, joined lobby efforts in Congress, reached out to fellow political detainees and contemporaries, and marched the streets – all in the hope that they shall be recognized and be heeded upon by the current Aquino government. We shall not let their passing be in vain.

As we remember Atty. Candazo, Atty. Romeo Capulong, Bong Barsoles, Romeo Luneta, Maita Gomez, Rudy Lagoc, Manny Loste, Mike Biriña and all those who served the people and fought for justice, we demand the Aquino government to implement the law now, form the Claims Board now. There’s no other time but now. ###


Rights victims who won a favorable judgement in Hawaii clarifies position on the so-called recoveries from the sale of a Monet painting

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Press Statement
19 August 2013

The Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), the organization of former political prisoners which  initiated the filing of the historic class action suit for human rights violations against former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos and family, today welcomed the efforts of recovery  of the ill-gotten wealth of the  Marcoses to collect on the judgment of the Hawaii court.

To clarify, SELDA Chairperson Marie Hilao Enriquez, whose parents – Maximo and Celsa Hilao – are the lead plaintiffs in the historic suit, recalled that the Hawaii Court ruled in 1992 in favor of the victims; the ruling became final and executory in 1995; providing for a $2B exemplary and $776M compensatory damages for the Hawaii claimants. This meant that any recovery of Marcoses’ property by the Hawaii claimants’ lawyer, in this case, Atty. Robert Swift, can be undertaken to collect on the judgment imposed by the Hawaiian Court.  Therefore, as long as the full judgment rendered by the Hawaii court has not been fully satisfied by the Marcoses, Atty. Robert Swift can identify Marcos’ illegal properties for the benefit of the Hawaiian claimants (meaning those who are included in the 9,539 victims validated by the Court in Hawaii.)

We welcome the news that the victims included in the Hawaii case, would benefit from the sale of a valuable painting that Imelda Marcos acquired during the martial law years.  We recognize Atty. Robert Swift’s efforts to go after the Marcoses ill-gotten wealth to collect on the judgment of the Hawaii court. However, we would like to reiterate and remind Atty. Swift and other lawyers that before any settlement and distribution of monies from such takes place, the victims must be consulted; their views on such obtained as they have a right to know who this “secret buyer” is (for all the victims know, the buyer may also end up a Marcos) and what the provisions of the settlement are.  Even if the Hawaii court determines the fairness of the settlement by asking the victims, the latter can only reply intelligently if they are well- informed of the agreements.

We also hope that the original 9,539 victims validated by the Court in 1994 will be included in the beneficiaries of the said recovery.  We do not like a repeat of the 2011 so-called check distribution to the 7,526 victims “from the settlement agreement reached by Atty. Robert Swift and the Marcos crony Jose Yao-Campos for the 2 pieces of real estate properties in the US of Imelda Marcos.”

The 2011 check distribution disenfranchised 2, 013 victims who seemed delisted arbitrarily by the lawyers in the Hawaii suit. We demand that the original list of 9,539 and NOT ONLY the 7,526 victims will benefit from this boasted sale of the Monet painting.  As the judgment has not been fully satisfied yet and the lawyer can go on recovering or  making settlement agreements with the Marcoses, we condemn the disenfranchisement of those delisted from the original 9,539.  Even if the original claimants have died, they are still represented by their next of kin and families as well as other relatives.

Further, Enriquez asks, “I understood that the Hawaii class suit or the MDL-840 is a consolidated case of three groups who sued Marcos in the Hawaii Court in 1986.  The three groups were the SELDA group of 9,539; the group of 21 Filipino expatriates in the US led by Vic Clemente and Fluellen Ortigas and the group of three of Prof. Jose Maria Sison, the parents of the former representing his disappeared brother, Francisco Sison and Jose Piopongco, whose radio station was ordered confiscated by then Pres. Marcos.  I understand that all three groups won the historic class action suit and therefore, all three must be included in any settlement agreement or recoveries to collect on judgment.  That is why it is not only 9,539 victims who must benefit from the recovery of Marcos’ wealth but the three groups who won in the landmark case.”

Atty. Robert Swift and his co-counsels must be able to explain this to the victims and to the public as well. SELDA informs the public that any recovery of Atty. Swift to collect on the judgment of the Hawaii court pertains and will only benefit the claimants in the Hawaii case and not the entire list of martial law victims in the Philippines as covered by the recently-signed but unimplemented RA 10368 or Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013. ###


“Empty celebration” as long as reparation for and recognition of Martial Law victims remain lip service

News Release
15 August 2013

SELDA on the grandiose preparation to commemorate Ninoy’s anniversary

“Empty celebration” as long as reparation for and recognition of Martial Law victims remain  lip service

Rights group SELDA said the upcoming activities commemorating the assasination of former Sen. Ninoy Aquino will remain as “empty celebrations” as long as the reparation and recognition for Martial Law victims remain as lip service and unimplemented by the Noynoy Aquino administration.

“We remember the death of Ninoy as one that might have triggered the final push to oust the dictator; but years before his assassination, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who were lesser known than Ninoy, have sacrificed their lives to fight against the tyrannical rule of the dictator.  Like Ninoy, they deserve to be recognized, their deeds made known to a nation grateful for its heroes.  August 21 is one of those times we can remember them together with Ninoy, yet after a long, hard, even lonely struggle, the law that was supposed to do this – the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Law, finally signed by President Noynoy Aquino on February 25, 2013, has not been implemented up till now,” SELDA chairpeson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said.

The group described the non-formation of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board as stipulated in the law, as “mockery” to the victims who painstakingly demanded reparation and recognition for decades now.

“Now that another commemoration of Ninoy’s assasination is to be observed again we can only feel insulted at how the Aquino government will throw out festivities once more. This, while the thousands of heroes of Martial Law are painfully waiting for the formation of the claims board, the first and most basic step in the implementation of the law,” Enriquez said.

The Claims Board, the primary body that will evaluate and recognize the victims of the Marcos dictatorship is yet to be formed after Pres. Aquino signed RA 10368 on the occasion of the 27th People Power Anniversary, February 25 this year.

Martial Law victims will submit another letter to Pres. Aquino on August 21, demanding for the law’s implementation. A protest action will also be held at the foot of Mendiola to be participated in by hundreds of Martial Law victims from Manila and nearby provinces.

“Malacañang has a lot of explaining to do, not only to the victims but to the general public, why there is so much delay in the formation of the claims board. Moreover, we are questioning the apparent effort to exclude SELDA, the organization which led the historic filing of the class suit  against the Marcoses, for the plunder and rights violations against the people,” Enriquez pointed out.

 

Include all Hawaii class suit members

Meanwhile, SELDA welcomed the new settlement agreement involving an artwork “owned” by Imelda Marcos.

The group said, however, that the new agreement should include all the original 9,539 victims who were part of the class suit in Hawaii. It can be remembered that in the $10 million Swift-Campos settlement agreement, only 7,526 out of the 9,539 claimant-victims were given their share from the settlement.

“The more than 2,000 victims who were denied of compensation in the first settlement is equivalent to a blatant disenfranchisement and non-recognition. Delisting them for the second time is unforgivable,” Enriquez said.

Nevertheless, Enriquez said recognition to the victims as soon as the law is implemented, is important and valuable. “No amount of money is equivalent to the recognition that shall etch the role played by the Martial Law heroes in our nation’s history,” Enriquez concluded.  ###

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson, 0917-5616800

STATEMENT of SELDA on one injured SELDA leader at yesterday’s SONA protests

Rodolfo 'Ka Rody' del Rosario: SELDA senior citizen member 77-year-old Rodolfo del Rosario suffered head injuries when the PNP units tried to disperse the protesters. He is one of many injured, including Ka Tonying Flores, also a senior citizen, member of KMP and Anakpawis. | Photo by Ilang-ilang Quijano

Rodolfo ‘Ka Rody’ del Rosario: SELDA senior citizen member 77-year-old Rodolfo del Rosario suffered head injuries when the PNP units tried to disperse the protesters. He is one of many injured, including Ka Tonying Flores, also a senior citizen, member of KMP and Anakpawis. | Photo by Ilang-ilang Quijano

 
Press Statement
23 July 2013

We at SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) condemn the Philippine National Police for seriously hurting one of
our leaders and other protesters in the rally that coincided with Pres. Aquino’s 4th State of the Nation Address yesterday. It is reprehensible that those fought the Marcos dictatorship and who paved the way to where Aquino is right now, suffer the same police terror not unlike the martial law days.

77-year old Rodolfo “Ka Rody” del Rosario, former political prisoner during martial law and vice-chairperson of the SELDA NCR chapter, suffered from head injuries after police hit him with a nightstick. He was at the frontlines of the People’s SONA ng Bayan that asserted, in a clear exercise of their right to assemble and to protest, to get near Batasang Pambansa where Aquino’s SONA was held.

SELDA members, imprisoned and tortured during Martial Law, attended the SONA rally to emphasize that no justice has been served for the
victims of human rights violations. This is now Aquino’s 4th SONA, and after countless letters, lobbying efforts and rallies, the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act signed last February 25 remains ineffective and stagnant. Martial Law victims have yet to be recognized.

We demanded justice not only for us victims of human rights violations. We demanded justice for the greater majority of the Filipino people who continue to struggle for their most basic human rights. Yet, Aquino’s “inclusive growth” only pushed further the rights of the people to food, shelter, healthcare, education, land and livelihood to the sidelines.

The People’s SONA yesterday was a testament of the people’s right to express their discontent because their basic rights are violated.

Only the few rich and powerful , who bleed the people dry, enjoy the so-called growth. These are the same group of elites who are favored by the Aquino government’s policies, at the expense of the people who bear the burden of high prices, privatization of services, meager wages, forced eviction, landlessness and the overall crisis passed on to us by Aquino’s imperialist masters.

We protest  the denial of a permit to rally, the use of concertina wires, the blocking of the roads with container vans and fire trucks; the truncheon-bearing police who mercilessly hit the protesters, the illegal and arbitrary arrests and detention and the wounding of rallyists—literally the same scene and horror during the times of the dictatorship.

We demand that the PNP be made accountable for the violence that ensued in yesterday’s rally. We also demand justice and accountability for the illegal arrests and detention made by the police.

We  deplore the statements made by the Commission on Human Rights, which instead of ensuring that the police do not use force against the activists, irresponsibly maligned the protesters by saying it is the protesters’ fault that the police used violence against them.

By our collective action, we were able to topple down a dictator. We were able to assert our democratic rights as a people. Amid the dire conditions of the Filipino people, we shall continue to march the streets and tell the real state of the nation and fight for justice for the marginalized and oppressed Filipino people. ###

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson 0917-5616800




Kilos protesta kasabay ng SONA 2013, nauwi sa girian

State of the Nation with Jessica Soho | GMA News TV



	

Form panel for claims now, Marcos victims urge

Leila B. Salaverria | 

Saying the victims of martial law abuses have waited long enough, human rights groups are urging Malacañang to form immediately the panel that would process their claims for compensation.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said Sunday there was no reason for the administration to delay the appointments to the nine-member Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board.

Colmenares, one of the authors of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act, said the government did not have to wait for any implementing rules or regulations to be formulated before naming the board members.

The board will draft the implementing rules for the compensation process, which is why its completion is crucial for the law to take full effect, Colmenares explained.

President Aquino signed the compensation measure into law on Feb. 25, the 27th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution that led to the ouster of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The law was intended to recognize the struggles of the people who fought the dictatorship and provide them remunerations for their sufferings. The money would come from a P10-billion fund out of the ill-gotten wealth recovered from Marcos.

“Until the board has been completed, the application period [for the victims’ compensation] could not begin,” Colmenares said in a phone interview.

 

Victims dying

He noted that every year, many victims of abuses during the Marcos dictatorship had been dying. Further delaying the process would deny them the chance to receive the compensation themselves, although their heirs could apply on their behalf.

Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at sa Aresto (Selda), which earlier lamented the non-implementation of the measure, said that in the two and a half months after the measure was signed, some of the victims had died due to illnesses without seeing the law take effect.

“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 go down the drain,” Selda national coordinator Roneo Clamor said in a statement.

Selda earlier also submitted nominees to the board. Its nominees included martial law victims who were involved in the filing of the class suit—around 9,000—gainst the Marcoses and in pursuing the enactment of the law to compensate the victims, as well as members of human rights organizations.

Selda is one of the organizations that may submit nominations to the President.

“I don’t know why after we’ve all fought for it, the appointment of the board has not yet been done. Selda is correct to press that matter,” Colmenares said.

 

Requirements

He also conceded that the Aquino administration must name to the board people with sufficient knowledge and background on human rights issues and should not make any appointments for political accommodation.

The law itself states the requirements for the board members: persons of known probity, competence and integrity; must have a deep and thorough understanding and knowledge of human rights and involvement in efforts against abuses during the Marcos regime; and must have a clear and adequate understanding and commitment to human rights protection, promotion and advocacy.

At least three board members must be lawyers who have been practicing for at least 10 years.

Once all the appointments are complete, the board would 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 would 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.


SELDA appreciates the new effort of the Swiss government

24 May 2013

With elections over, SELDA STRONGLY URGES the Noynoy Aquino government to implement RA 10368 immediately as
SELDA appreciates the new effort of the Swiss government

SELDA appreciates the new effort of the Swiss government of working on a new law which intends to simplify the process of freezing and unblocking assets of former autocratic governments which includes the former Marcos regime, stashed in Swiss bank accounts.

In September 2012, SELDA Chairperson Marie Enriquez, has brought to the attention of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council as well as the Human Rights Committee in October both in Geneva, the status of the pending bill (at that time) to indemnify the martial law human rights violations victims and urged the said bodies to remind the Philippine government of its obligation to compensate the martial law victims. In her oral intervention at the September 2012 Human Rights Council session during the adoption of the Philippine UPR report, she “particularly took note of Switzerland’s UPR recommendation to compensate the victims of martial law” especially since the Swiss government has already transferred the US$680M Marcos Swiss deposits in favor of the Philippine government in 1997 yet.

“While a new initiative to swiftly send back to originating countries the ill-gotten wealth of dictators is being done by the Swiss government, the Noynoy Aquino government is not moving on the implementation of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recogniton Act or RA 10368. Two and a half months have passed since the President has boastfully signed the measure, but the formation of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board has not been acted upon by the Noynoy Aquino administration that many of the victims are awaiting as the formation signals the implementation of the law,” Roneo Clamor, SELDA National Coordinator said.

“We have already waited long enough. We can’t afford this part of justice to be delayed and denied again! We hope that this administration will stop using the law as a means to bloat his popularity and instead immediately implement RA 10368,”Clamor concluded.


SELDA raises concern on the non-implementation of the law on the Human Rights Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 for martial law victims

Press Release
17 May 2013

Two and a half months after the passage of the ML Victims Reparation and Recognition Act (RA 10368)
SELDA raises concern on the non-implementation of the law on the Human Rights Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 for martial law victims

The rights group SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) raised concerns on 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. The formation of the said Board signals the implementation of the said law which the victims have fought for so long.

“It has been two and half months since Pres. Aquino signed the bill into law. Within these months, SELDA learned that several martial law victims have died due to their illnesses without having seen the implementation of the said law.“Again, we reiterate what is taking the government so long to implement the law?” SELDA national coordinator Roneo Clamor asked.

Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 or RA 10368 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. The President will appoint the members of the Claims Board

As one of the five organizations that may nominate members of the Claims Board, 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, for prospective members of the Board. 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.”

Up to the present, SELDA is kept in the dark about the Board’s formation that many of the victims are awaiting. 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 go down the drain.” Clamor stressed.

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

Reference:
Roneo “Jigs” S. Clamor, National Coordinator
09175965859


Video

SELDA speaks on PCGG’s plan to hold exhibit of Imelda Marcos jewelry collection

SELDA’s National Coordinator Jigs Clamor speaks on PCGG’s plan to exhibit Imelda Marcos jewelry collection.


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. ###


Group wants transparency on selection of HR claims board

Dennis Carcamo | Philippine Star

Rights group Karapatan on Thursday called on the Aquino administration for  transparent and credible process in the selection of the members of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board.

“The process should be acceptable to the victims,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Palabay said they are  apprehensive because as vital information on the nomination process and schedules were not publicized.

“We hope that this is not a foreshadowing of the possible exclusion of the nominees of Selda and Tanggol Bayi from the Human Rights Claims Board,” Palabay added.

The group also echoed the call of the martial law victims that the Claims Board should be composed of people “with integrity, competence and probity and, who understand the plight of the victims.”

Under Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Violation Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, the Claims board is mandated to formulate the implementing rules and regulations of the measure and to process the claims of victims of human rights violations during martial law.


Rights group submits list of nominees to HR Claims Board

Dennis Carcamo | Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Rights group Selda on Thursday announced it has submitted a list of nominees to the Human Rights Victims Claims Board that will evaluate and process the application for claims of the Martial Law victims.

Selda secretary general Angie Ipong said they sent its list of nominees to the Office of the President last March 12.

Selda came up with the list after President Benigno Aquino III signed into law the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act.

“We are very honored and proud that our nominees possess the qualifications of the members of the Claims Board spelled out in the law,” Ipong said.

Based on the criteria set by the law, the nominees must be of known probity, competence and integrity; must have a deep and thorough understanding and knowledge of human rights and involvement in efforts against human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos; and  must have a clear and adequate understanding and commitment to human rights protection, promotion and advocacy.

Among the nominees include rights group Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Bonifacio Ilagan, former Gabriela partylist Rep. Liza Maza, Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, Dr. Edelina De la Paz, lawyers Romeo Candazo, Kit  Enriquez, and Dominador Lagare Sr.

“With such sterling names and achievements of our nominees, we are confident that they possess the qualifications required by law and if appointed, the personalities we are submitting for nomintations will do honor and work for the interests of the victims of martial law and see to it that this law will redound to the vicitms’ benefits,” Ipong added.

Selda is the the organization that initiated the class action suit against the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.


SELDA submits nominees to the Human Rights Victims Claims Board; vows to see to it that R.A. 10368 will be implemented for the interests of the victims

Press Statement
March 14, 2013

SELDA or the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto, the organization that initiated the class action suit against former dictator Marcos, sent its list of nominees to the Office of the President on March 12, 2013, for possible inclusion to the Human
Rights Victims Claims Board that will evaluate and process the claims of the human rights violations victims who will file their claim under RA 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

According to the law, SELDA is one of the five human rights organizations, although not limited to the five named organizations,
that “may submit nominations”  for membership in the Human Rights Victims Claims Board that will evaluate and process the application for claims of the martial law victims under the law.  SELDA secretary general Angie Ipong asserts, “We are very honored and proud  that our nominees possess the qualifications of the members of the Claims Board spelled out in the law; thus, 1) must be of known probity, competence and integrity; 2) must have a deep and thorough understanding and knowledge of human rights and involvement in efforts against human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos; 3) must have a clear and adequate understanding and commitment to human rights protection, promotion and advocacy. There is also a provision that stipulates that at least three (3) of the nine (9)  must be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least (10) years.”

SELDA’s nominees for the Human Rights Victims Claims Board are the following:

1.      Ms. Amaryllis “Marie” Hilao-Enriquez – Marie, Chairperson of both SELDA  and Karapatan, is a survivor of martial law. From her student days at the University of the Philippines up to the present, she has remained a staunch human rights defender. Marie, as a prominent leader of SELDA, led the organization of former political prisoners in the filing and proceedings of the class action suit against the former dictator Marcos in the US Federal Court in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is the daughter of one of the original plaintiffs in the Hawaii class suit. She likewise led the victims and their kin in the active lobby work for the enactment into law of the compensation bill that would indemnify and recognize the victims of martial law.   She is a tireless human rights worker in engaging the various mechanisms of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

2.      Mr. Bonifacio P. Ilagan – Boni, a multi-awarded writer, was twice arrested (1974 and 1994), tortured, and imprisoned. Boni’s political activism is expressed, among others, through his writings. He is currently the Vice Chairperson of SELDA, one of the mandated organizations under RA  10368 to submit nominations for the Human Rights Claims Board.

3.      Former Representative Liza L. Maza – As a member of the House of Representatives for nine years, Liza introduced and advocated for the legislation of a law recognizing and indemnifying victims of Martial Law. Ms. Maza, together with representatives Satur Ocampo and the late Crispin Beltran, filed the bill for victims of martial law, with due consultations with the victims, their relatives and lawyers.

4.      Prof. Judy Taguiwalo – Judy teaches at the University of thePhilippines. She heads the Department of Women and Development Studies of the College of Social Work and Community Development.  She was a member of the UP Board of Regents from 2009-2010.  She is the recipient of an outstanding alumna award from the UP Alumni Association.   She was detained twice, in 1973 and in 1984, where she gave birth inside prison.  She is a board member of SELDA.

5.      Dr. Edelina P. De la Paz – Dr. Delen de la Paz is Associate Professor in the Dept. of Family Medicine at the UP College of Medicine.  She is also the Vice Chief of the Social Medicine Unit at the same university. Dr. Delen de la Paz has been involved in various health and human rights related institutions and non-government organizations.  She is a respected alumna of the UP College of  Medicine.

6.      Atty. Romeo D. Candazo – a former political detainee, Atty.Ome Candazo is one of the founding members of SELDA in 1985.  He is also a public servant having occupied various executive and legislative positions in the government;  he served as a representative of the City of Marikina.  He is a journalist, an educator and lecturer at the UP, Ateneo and Maryknoll College.  But, first and foremost, Atty. Candazo is a human rights lawyer.

7.      Atty. Kit S. Enriquez – Atty. Kit is the President of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers-Cebu Chapter and a member of the Board of Directors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu from 2005-2011.  Atty. Kit was arrested twice during martial law (1972 and 1975) and was heavily tortured by the military.

8.      Atty. Dominador A. Lagare, Sr.  –  hails from General Santos in Mindanao and has been a practicing lawyer since 1973.  He was appointed OIC Mayor of General Santos during President Cory Aquino’s time.  He has also served General Santos as city councilor for four terms.  Atty. Lagare has been doing pro bono work for victims of human rights violations in the General Santos and Saranggani provinces.  He teaches labor laws and negotiable instruments at the Mindanao State University.

With such sterling names and achievements of our nominees, we are confident that they possess the qualifications required by law and if appointed, the personalities we are submitting for nomintations will do honor and work for the interests of the victims of martial law and see to it that this law will redound to the vicitms’ benefits,”  SELDA secretary general Angie Ipong concluded.  She also said that “SELDA’s nominees have been the vocal as well as silent workers behind the campaign for justice for martial law vicitms, components of which are the recognition of the struggle of the vicitims against the dictatorship and the reparation for the sufferings the victims experienced.  These are finally realized under the law.  We, at SELDA,  vow to see to the law’s implementation. ###

Reference: Eliza Tita Lubi, SELDA board member, 434-2837


Image

SELDA-Southern Mindanao Region General consultation meeting

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Aquino signs rights compensation law

Jamie Elona and Agence France-Presse | Inquirer.net
February 25, 2013

MANILA, Philippines –President Benigno Aquino III on Monday signed a landmark law, compensating human rights victims of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, 27 years after a bloodless “People Power” revolution ended his reign.

“Nilagdaan natin ang Human Rights Victims Reparation Act of 2013 bilang pagkilala sa pagdurusang dinaanan ng napakarami noong Batas Militar.” Aquino said in his speech during the country’s celebration of the 27th People Power Revolution.

”Hindi natatapos sa paggunita ang ating krusada para sa katarungan,” Aquino said.

Aquino thanked Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada and Senator Serge Osmena who authored the bill, as well as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Ten billion pesos ($244 million) will be distributed to potentially thousands of people who were tortured, raped or detained, as well as relatives of those who were killed, by Marcos’s security forces during his 20-year rule.

Aquino said the law was part of his government’s efforts 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,” he said.

Loretta Ann Rosales, an anti-Marcos activist who was tortured by his security forces and now heads the country’s independent rights commission, said the law would finally allow all his victims to feel a sense of justice.

“The law is essential in rectifying the abuses of the Marcos dictatorship and obliges the state to give compensation to all those who suffered gross violations of their rights,” Rosales told AFP.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, the chairwoman of Selda, a group which represents Marcos rights victims, also welcomed the symbolic intent behind the law but said the money was too little to have a meaningful impact.

“There are so many victims that when you divide it to everyone it will not result to much,” Hilao-Enriquez said.

Hilao-Enriquez’s group represents about 10,000 documented victims but she said there were many more who had not been officially registered and may now come forward, such as Muslim communities in the remote south of the country.

Under the law, a “compensation board” will accept and evaluate applications for reparations over the next six months, according to Rosales.

The compensation money will come from about $600 million the government has recovered from Swiss bank accounts that Marcos secretly maintained while he was in power.

The government has accused Marcos and his relatives of plundering up to $10 billion and has so far recovered about $4 billion.

Aquino’s mother Corazon led the “People Power” revolution that saw millions of people take to the streets and force US-government backed Marcos from power. He died in exile in Hawaii in 1989.

Sister Cres Lucero, 70, a human rights supporter, hailed the enactment of the bill into law.

“Isang tagumpay ito para sa karapatang pangtao. Kasi dito talagang pinirmahan ng Pangulo natin ang Compensation Act para sa mga biktima ng martial law,” Cres said.

She underscored the role of justice in the pursuit of freedom.


Martial law victims get P10B

Jocelyn Montemayor | Malaya
February 25, 2013

SAYING the quest for justice is not yet over, President Aquino yesterday signed the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 (Republic Act 10368), which would compensate human rights victims during the martial law era.

The law, which was signed during the 27th anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolution, sets aside P10 billion from the seized Marcos assets as reparation for victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violation committed from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986.

The law also concluded that members of the class suit that was decided by Hawaii District Court Judge Manuel Real and human rights victims as recognized by the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation are also presumed victims during the martial law regime.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Section 20 of the new law provides for a reward or point system ranging from 1 to 10 which would be used to identify the victims and determine how much compensation they would receive.

Those who died or disappeared or are still missing get 10 points; those tortured and/or raped, four to nine points; detained, two to four points; and forced into exile, kidnapped or otherwise exploited, sexually offended but not raped during military and/or police operations, one to four points.

Claims by the human rights victims or their heirs shall be made within six months after the effectivity of the implementing rules . The law provides that no special power of attorney shall be recognized unless the victim is incapacitated.

A nine-member Human Rights Victim’s Claims Board shall be created that would draft the implementing guidelines and process the applications for compensation.

Non-monetary reparation shall be provided by the education and social welfare departments, Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in coordination with the Commission on Human Rights, through the preparation of teaching modules on the abuses committed and heroism shown during the martial law years.

A Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission shall be established in honor of the human rights victims.

Aquino said the People Power revolution does not belong to only one particular group, and called on Filipinos to remember its lessons and put the country’s interests ahead of their own.

He said a united and solid Filipino force is needed to stand against all obstacles in the path towards progress.

The President said the Philippines served as inspiration for other countries after the 1986 bloodless revolution. He said the country is again a new source of inspiration due to its strong fiscal standing amidst the global economic uncertainty and pessimism.

He said Filipinos should be proud of this achievement, and work on ending the economy’s boom and bust cycle.

Aquino led the flag raising ceremony at the People Power Monument that kicked off the day-long activities that marked the Edsa anniversary.

The President was joined by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Cabinet members led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., and members of the Senate and House represented by Senator Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

The President also led the awarding of the Spirit of Edsa Foundation Awards, and witnessed the presentation of a Pledge of Commitment by governors, and religious, business and youth representatives and the “Salubungan” rites that recalled the  converging of the military and the people in EDSA to stand against the forces of then President Ferdinand Marcos.

President Fidel Ramos, then AFP Vice Chief of Staff, and former Senator Agapito Aquino – Aquino’s uncle – led the Salubungan.

A statue of Our Lady, credited for the peaceful revolution, was carried by Father Arnold Abelardo who was seated on top of a military tank adorned by yellow flowers. The Salubungan was followed by a shower of yellow confetti from a military chopper.

The Madrigal Singers then led the singing of “Magkaisa” and “Bayan Ko,” after which Ramos and the elder Aquino reenacted the “victory jump,” a reminder of the crowd’s celebration when told that Marcos had left the Palace.

In the afternoon in Malacañang, the President met with busloads of children from various orphanages and told them about martial law and People Power.

He said the younger generation should preserve the democracy and freedom that the country enjoys.

The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) said the signing of the reparations law was a “small victory” for the martial victims’ continuing search for justice.

“They faced adversity, but took the courage to stand up and defend, not only theirs, but the people’s rights,” said SELDA chair Marie Hilao-Enriquez.

The group said the passage of the law was due mainly to the persistence of the martial law victims who worked with supporters against those who sought to oppose or delay the measure.

SELDA vowed to guard the 9,539 people included in the master list of martial victims against unnecessary bureaucratic processes and scams that will deprive them of just indemnification.

The human rights group Karapatan said the human rights abuses continue under the present administration.

In a statement, Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said yesterday’s commemoration of the EDSA People Power is an “empty exercise meant as a window dressing for the administration’s dismal human rights records.”

The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said the political comeback of the Marcoses, 27 years after EDSA 1, points to the failure of all post-EDSA governments to make them truly accountable.