Friday, February 5, 2016

Senate passes bill extending life of Human Rights Victims Claims Board

The Senate passed on February 1 on third and final reading a bill seeking to extend the life of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) for two more years so it could process all the claims of human rights victims during the martial law.
Senate Bill No. 3153, sponsored by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, seeks to amend Section 29 of Republic Act 10368, also known as the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition (HRVCB) Act of 2013.
The measure was passed with 14 affirmative votes, no negative vote and one abstention from Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.
According to Mr. Pimentel, the HRVCB was created in February 25, 2013 to provide reparation for the human rights victims during the martial law. Under Section 29 of the law, the Board was given a period of two years from the promulgation of its implementing rules and regulations or from May 12, 2014 to May 12, 2016 to complete its work.
However, he said, while the number of claimants was estimated at only 20,000, the board actually received 75,730 applications for the reparation and/or recognition of human rights victims.
He said the board would need two more years to process all the applications it received since 2014.
“As of November 30, 2015, the Board had deliberated on about 11,071 or about 14.61 percent of the claims or applications it has received. It would be impossible for the Board to complete the deliberation of the remaining 64,659 applications by May 12, 2016,” Mr. Pimentel explained.
He said it would still not be possible to settle all the remaining claims, with nine members, handling 7,184 resolutions each.
“Each of the claims needs to be thoroughly deliberated upon in order to judiciously resolve the legitimate claims and to investigate and dispose of the fraudulent ones,” Mr. Pimentel said.
Since the Board received about 378 percent more applications than what was projected by Congress, it is only fair that we also extend the life of the Board to enable the HRVCB to fulfill its mandate of recognizing the victims and making reparations for human rights violations during the Marcos regime, Pimentel added. (Yvonne AlmiraƱez)

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