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‘Can’t do it alone’ claims board seeks various sectors’ help

/ 12:06 AM March 05, 2014

We, the members of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, vow to expedite processing the claims of and reparations for all victims of martial law.

The real lessons and true meaning of the 1986 People Power Revolution will remain incomplete for as long as justice remains elusive for the thousands of human rights victims of martial law. The victims’ struggles inspired the Filipino people to topple the dictatorship 28 years ago.

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We affirm our commitment to human rights, truth, justice, healing and reconciliation. We owe this to those who shed their blood, sweat and tears in the struggle against the dictatorship. We will reach out to all victims of abuses during martial law, beyond those who are already recognized by the US Federal District Court of Honolulu and the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.

We will fulfill our responsibilities to deal with our past with due diligence.

We will need information from the victims and their families, civil society organizations and government agencies including the security sector so that we can document human rights violations, recognize the victims and perpetrators and provide reparations for the victims, survivors and their families. We will search the records of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the now defunct Philippine Constabulary/Integrated National Police, paramilitary units and other security forces which were instrumental in the massive and systematic violation of human rights during the authoritarian rule.

There will be no historical amnesia. The documentation gathered will also be used to inform present and future generations about those abuses so that they will remain vigilant and ready to defend the freedoms and rights we have regained for the enjoyment of every Filipino.

The task of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board is big, daunting and challenging. Its enormity is already evident in the number of victims involved in the human rights litigation in Hawaii alone. The law recognizes that this cannot be done by the board alone, which is why it has empowered the board to deputize appropriate government agencies to assist in the fulfillment of its mandate to provide reparations and other effective remedies.

We have finalized our work plan and are currently drafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10368. We encourage the participation of as many stakeholders as possible in the public consultations on the IRR to be held in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.  We will finish our  job in  two years.

We call on all sectors of our nation to contribute to our quest for the truth, render justice through the recognition of the victims and reparations in monetary and nonmonetary forms. We need to join hands in the pursuit of truth and justice for our nation to heal and move forward.

We say, “Never again to martial law!”

—LINA CASTILLO SARMIENTO, chair,

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WILFRED ASIS, GALAUSCH BALLAHO,

BYRON D. BOCAR,

JOSE LUIS MARTIN GASCON,

GLENDA LITONG, JACQUELINE VELORIA MEJIA, AURORA CORAZON ALVAREDA PARONG, ERLINDA NABLE SENTURIAS, members, Human Rights Victims’

Claims Board

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TAGS: 1986 People Power Revolution, Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, letters to the editor, opinion
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