The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) has accelerated the process of evaluating and releasing of claims of martial law victims as part of its commitment to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to expedite the release of claims.
The HRVCB informed the Office of the President of their accomplishments and latest developments on the processing and release of claims since their meeting with the President. The HRVCB transmitted to the Office of Executive Secretary (OES) Salvador Medialdea Board Resolution No. 01-2017, approving the preliminary list of 4,000 eligible claimants and release of partial monetary reparation; Board Resolution No. 03-2017, publishing the list of eligible claimants; a memorandum of agreement between HRVCB and Landbank pertaining to the use of the bank’s Cash Card facility to pay legitimate claimants; and an acknowledgement receipt from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), pertaining to the letter of HRCVB requesting for the release of P300-million from the Bureau of Treasury intended for the partial payment of monetary reparation.
President Duterte earlier met with officers of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) and members of HRVCB in Malacañan to discuss matters pertaining to the release of monetary reparation to victims of human rights violations during martial law. The said meeting was also attended senior government officials which included ES Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno,
SELDA sought the assistance of the President to expedite the release of the claims since the reparation law–the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10368)–had been passed four years ago and martial law victims have yet to receive recognition and compensation. The HRCVB has only until May 12, 2018 to complete the reparation process of about 75,000 claimants. To date, 4,000 claims have been approved out of the 30,027 claims already adjudicated, and 45,703 applications are still to be resolved.
In the said meeting, President Duterte through ES Medialdea discussed with the Claims Board the drafting of a resolution seeking to expedite the processing of claims, re-compute the claims amount based on actual received applications, release 50 percent of the monetary value, revise the processing timeline, and collaborate with concerned government agencies and other human rights groups to expedite the distribution and acceptance of decisions.
The HRVCB, in its resolutions, committed to distribute 50 percent of the total estimated reparation value due to the first 4,000 eligible claimants, consisting of 2,661 conclusively presumed victims and 1,339 new applicants.
The Claims Board, following the point system prescribed in the reparation law, came up with a total of 23,567 points to be awarded to the first batch of claimants, with one point equivalent to P25,000 rounded up. Thus, the total reparation value amounted to P589-million. Half of it will be released to the first batch of claimants by the second quarter of 2017 through Landbank’s Cash Cards facility, and the balance to be released after the final resolution of all claims and the publication of the final list.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost) offered a discount of 50 centavos per mail to the HRCVB in lieu of franking privilege. The HRCVB, however, requested for additional discount for the mailing of notices and resolutions. Prior to that, the Claims Board requested the Commission on Audit (COA) for a public bidding exemption on the publication of the list of legitimate claimants.
Also outlined in the documents submitted to OES are the activities required by law the HRCVB needs to perform before the actual delivery of payment, such as docketing of appeals from the claimants and oppositions from any interested party; resolution of appeals and oppositions; publication of the final list of eligible claimants; and submission of the list of the first 4,000 eligible claimants to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Department of Health (DOH) for the delivery of non-monetary reparation benefits. ###PCO-Content