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TFDP position paper on compensation bill for ML HRVVs
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Friday, 21 January 2011 17:34

Martial_Law_xhibit_2010_a_smallTASK FORCEDETAINEES OF THE PHILIPPINES (TFDP)
POSITION PAPER ON THE COMPENSATION BILL FOR THE VICTIMS OF MARTIAL LAW


It was twenty five years ago when Filipinos showed to the world the power of the people to put in their hands the fate of a dictator and end one of those regimes that committed massive and ruthless human rights violations of that generation.   

Behind the well-celebrated event of our history, are martyrs, heroes and victims of human rights violations of the Marcoses. We are to celebrate its 25th year commemoration but the victims are still uncertain when justice will come.

They are the real heroes behind that popular Edsa people uprising that put us in the center of the world and inspired other peoples of other nations to defend their own rights.

Almost 39 years since the late President Marcos declared martial law, victims have endured the slow grind of justice. It has been twenty five long years since the downfall of Ferdinand E. Marcos and his victims have yet to find justice and closure. Not a few have died, others still languish in the quagmire of poverty and want, and still others persist in pursuing truth, compensation, rehabilitation and justice. And there are still many others who have not yet surfaced and claimed their rights.

 

Although compensation is not enough, this is an urgent step in achieving the long overdue justice for the victims.

The right of the victims for redress and remedy is part of the state’s obligation to protect and promote human rights of its people. It is enshrined under the Philippine constitution and international human rights laws and standards.  This means providing equal and effective access to justice, and adequate, effective and prompt reparation for harm suffered.

It is in this context that we in the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) welcome the filing of the compensation bill once again and call on the 15th congress for the speedy enactment of this law.

Our comments and suggestions

1.    On the definition of terms: we propose the adoption of the definition of terms from House Bills nos. 97, 54 and 302 that has more detailed definitions of acts or omissions that can be construed as human rights violations, who its victims and perpetrators are, and the forms of compensation that the victims are entitled to.

2.    On the question of the 9,539 persons who filed a class suit against the Marcos Estate: TFDP agrees with the formulation of Section 4 of HB 954 which states that: “All 9,539 class action plaintiffs and the 24 direct action plaintiffs in the Human Rights Litigation Against the Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos… shall be immediately and directly compensated from the Martial Law Victims Compensation Fund.”

TFDP agrees with the author that the 9,539 should automatically be recognized and given priority since they have already undergone a long process of validation and recognition of their cases. Subjecting them to another process (validation) which the other bills propose is cruel and unjust. What is needed instead is merely verification and documentation of claims.

3.    On the question of non-monetary compensation

We believe that the spirit of the law of compensation is the need of victims for justice.  We support and agree to the provisions contained in all the proposed bills that give importance to the non-monetary aspect of providing justice for the victims.

We welcome the inclusion of government’s recognition through putting up of memorial sites for rosters of victims and other means to honor their heroism and martyrdom.

4.    On the question of compensation and the victim’s quest for justice that heals:
TFDP reiterates its recommendation that in order to facilitate the healing process for the victims of martial law, authors of the bill should also add a separate section dealing with the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission which shall ensure that:

a.    All those who were involved with the martial law regime (especially those who are still in power) will be brought to bear responsibility for the part they played during the dictatorship;

b.    A process of retelling and recounting the events be told so as to help in healing the nations collective psyche which has been greatly traumatized by martial law;

c.    A process of reconciliation be carried out based on the lessons learned from the experiences that will be brought to light by the truth commission;

d.    That the testimonies in this truth commission are used to strengthen the findings and investigations of the Compensation board and help in the speedy application of the victim’s right to remedy.     

5.    On the question of the composition of the compensation board:

TFDP is more inclined to support the provision contained in Section 7 of HB 1693 that gives civil society direct role and participation in the board and gives the executive a purely ministerial role in relation to confirming appointment to the board.   


Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

January 21, 2011


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Last Updated on Friday, 21 January 2011 18:19
 

Comments  

 
#1 rico nunez 2011-02-28 11:51
My Mother in law, Purificacion Viernes, wants to know if you have not received the Feb. 7 letter, are you still eligible to claim your "settlement"? Is there a list of the 7,000 claimants approved by Judge Real? What about the claimants in the provinces who could not go to Manila? If you have the time kindly contact us at 238-5839 or 09164878944.
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