By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 17-May-2013 (BicolToday.com) – The law signed by President Aquino in February 2013 to compensate martial law human rights victims, using confiscated Marcos money to pay indemnification to rights -abused victims and their families, is believed by concerned sectors being delayed in its implementation, a group informed Bicol Today on Saturday.
The rights group, SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto), raises 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 Board signals the implementation of the law which the victims have fought for so long.
SELDA raises concern on the non-implementation of the law on the Human Rights Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 for martial law victims, saying that two (2) and a half months have passed since its signage into law.
“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,“ the group informed Bicol Today.
“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 (5) 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.
According to SELDA, their nominated persons 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 in post- EDSA period, from 1986 til the early 1990s. [BicolToday.com]