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Philippines: More than 40,000 file human rights claims


The Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights was one of many who filed a claim for recognition and reparation of human rights violations.

Loretta Rosales was one of many who filed claims for recognition and reparation as human rights victims during the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos.

A report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer said the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson went to the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) office in Diliman, Quezon City, on Monday 10 November, the last day for applicants to file their claims.

It took her 30 minutes to finish the application process, from filling out a form to claiming her acknowledgment receipt with her photograph on it.

"I was too busy attending to others filing their claims and we also asked for an extension of the filing period. So, it was only today that I was able to file my claim," Rosales said.

In 1976, she was arrested and tortured. She was blindfolded, molested, subjected to Russian roulette and strangled. A wet rag was stuffed into her mouth. Rosales was released a month after her arrest.

At the end of Monday 10 November, the HRVCB's main office had received a total of 42,564 claims. However, HRVCB Chairperson Lina Sarmiento said this figure did not include the claims filed in regional offices.

Rosales told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that she did not expect that the figure would be so large.

"I think it's very good. This means to say that these claimants are not just the activists during the martial law regime. These are also the ordinary people who underwent hardships during the dictatorship," Rosales said.

The HRVCB will review each claim to determine its legitimacy and entitlement to an award, which will come from the P10 billion set aside for reparation and recognition under Republic Act No. 10368, the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

Aside from reparation, the names of the victims will be enshrined in the Roll of Victims of Human Rights Violations.

Rosales said the task of recognizing and awarding reparation to human rights victims was not just confined to the Philippines, as other countries wanted to adopt similar laws. She said she had spoken to human rights officials of South East Asian countries like Thailand and Indonesia about RA 10368.

"They want to study it and adopt it for their countries. I am glad that other countries are inspired by what we did," Rosales said.

Date: 11 November 2014

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Image credits

  1. UN Geneva, Flickr Creative Commons