MANILA - The Senate has ratified a bill granting compensation to victims of human rights abuses during Martial Law.
The chamber approved the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2012 almost a week after the bicameral conference committee reconciled the respective versions of the House and the Senate.
The measure declares it a state policy to "recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the Martial Law regime of Former President Ferdinand Marcos."
Those qualified to receive compensation under the bill are victims of human rights violations committed from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986.
In the bill's list of definitions, human rights violations include warrantless arrests, torture, takeover of businesses, enforced disappearances, media censorship, and other offensive acts committed by people in government such as the police and military.
The compensation will come from funds amounting to P10 billion transferred to the Philippine treasury through the order of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in 1997.
A point system will be followed in determining the amount that each victim or their kin will receive:
- victims who died shall be given 9 to 10 points;
- victims who were tortured shall be given 4 to 9 points;
- victims who were detained shall be given 2 to 4 points;
- victims who were harassed and economically oppressed or disadvantaged but do not belong to the other categories shall be given 1 to 2 points.
Furthermore, the measure establishes a museum where the names of all victims of human rights violations will be enshrined.
It also directs the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education to "include the teaching of this chapter in our country's history in the school's curriculum."
A Human Rights Claims Board will also be created to determine people qualified to get compensation.
Meantime, Cong. Edcel Lagman, principal author of the Human Rights victims compensation bill, expects the House of Representatives to ratify the bill if it is called to a vote today or tomorrow.
Lagman signed the bicameral conference committee report or the reconciled version of the House and Senate versions of the bill Monday afternoon.
He said that this is another piece of landmark legislation that will seek to compensate victims of human rights. -- with a report from Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News