NEW COMPENSATION LAW, (Republic Act 10368)
FOR VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS:
RIGHT STEP BUT NOT ENOUGH TO END
On January 23, 1977, the newspaper Bulletin Today bannered this headline: “One-sided press reports scored. No violations of human rights – FM”.
Ferdinand Marcos was then vehemently denying the reports of massive and grave human rights violations perpetrated since his seizing a second term presidency by imposing martial law on September 21, 1972. Mainly documented by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), established by the Association of Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) in 1974, these violations reached the international community and the then U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Marcos used the State machinery to produce a coercive environment and to engender a culture of impunity that persist till the present.
After seven and twenty years since the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship, there is finally a law which acknowledges the long-known truth held by people that there were human rights violations, such as arbitrary and illegal arrests, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture, committed by the martial law regime. It is only correct and just to recognize and memorialize all the heroes and martyrs who fought against repression and who courageously struggled for human and people’s rights.
Signing into law the Bill which compensates the victims of human rights violations during the martial law period is the right step towards ending the Marcos impunity and obtaining both justice and healing.
PAHRA commends both Congress and the Administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III for this legislative act that shatters a Marcosian myth and propaganda that there were no human rights
PAHRA, nonetheless, believes and stands that while the law gives recognition and compensation to the victims of human rights violations, it is not enough to break through and to end the impunity unleashed by Marcos. The U.N. Updated Principles in Combating Impunity enumerate some State obligations still need to be complied with: