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Dumaguete City, Philippines Friday, September 19, 2014
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Martial law ‘victims’
file claims application

BY JUANCHO GALLARDE & JUDY F. PARTLOW

More than 200 flocked to the Negros Oriental Convention Center in Dumaguete City to file and process claims for benefits for victims of martial law.

A team from the Human Rights Claims Board arrived in Dumaguete Wednesday for the three-day processing until today, as part of the six-month campaign for claims of victims of abuse during the martial law years.

Glenda Litong of the Claims Board said that due to limited time and personnel, they can only accept the applications of an average 150 claimants each day.

She said the reparation will depend on the gravity of the violation. The highest is 10 points for victims who were killed, six to nine points for torture, rape and sexual abuse, and the lowest at one point for deprivation of livelihood, like loss of working animals.

Claimants must base their claims from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986. Claims for violations committed one month before September 21, and one month after February 25, will be accepted, provided they involve agents of the State and/or persons acting in an official capacity.

The claims may be filed by a a human rights violation victim; conclusively presumed to be HRVV under the law; or legal heir/s, or an authorized representative of HRVVs who are deceased, incapacitated, or who have involuntary disappeared.

The reparation comes from the P10 billion fund from the accounts of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in Switzerland, that is held in trust by the government. Non-monetary claims can be in the form of accessibility to health services and counseling, especially for torture victims.

The Claims Board has recorded 16,000 claimants from all over the country, to date, and more are coming with the conduct of the provincial caravans, Litong said.

She said they have been to Bacolod, Iloilo and Mindanao, and plan to set up five regional desks in Cotabato, Tacloban, Legaspi, Davao and Iloilo, giving priority to areas where regional offices of the Commission on Human Rights are located.

She said as soon as the Department of Budget and Management gives the go signal to set up more regional desks, about 10 will be established in Tuguegarao, Butuan, Angeles City, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and a sub-office in Dumaguete.

The Board is assisted by officials and representatives of the Commission on Human Rights in Negros Oriental and its regional office in Cebu.

CHR-Negros Oriental chief, Jess Cañete, said yesterday that most of the applicants are from provinces and towns in Mindanao.

He cautioned applicants and their families against untruthful, deceptive or misleading information as these could lead to denial or disapproval of their applications, and possible charges of perjury.

The Board announced in its website that application for claims will end on November 10, 2014. Failure to file claims during period stated, will be considered a waiver.

The names of the victims will be enshrined in the Roll of Human Rights Violations Victims that will be turned over to the Human Rights Violations Victims Memorial Commission, the Claims Board website said.*JG/JFP

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