‘Via dolorosa’ for HRVCB and HR claimants
Every day since November last year, the members of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) and their paralegal team must have been on a “via dolorosa” as they began “the table-top evaluation” of all claims for reparation and recognition that victims had filed since May to November 2014.
Going through tens of thousands of claims that contain stories of torture, rape, detention, oppression, disappearance, loss and bereavement must be a painful, arduous walk. This is true for both the claimants who had to recall the gruesome details that would have been better left outside of memory and the evaluators who had to go through every affidavit, every story, and had to see every tear, every wound yet unhealed.
Because of the clamor from human rights violations victims (HRVVs), the period for the filing of claims has been extended. Here is the HRVCB’s announcement:
“Pursuant to Joint Resolution No. 03 of the Congress of the Philippines approved by the President on Feb. 17, 2015, and after due publication of the same in the Official Gazette on March 23, 2015, the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board through HRVCB Resolution No. 003-2015 sets the extension of the period to file applications by HRVVs during Martial Law—[to begin] on April 8, 2015 and [to end] on May 30, 2015.”
Even before the extension, the HRVCB had been processing the claims. Chair Lina Sarmiento said: “During this phase of the reparation and recognition process, our legal officers and paralegals would sort all claims and segregate those with complete and valid documents for adjudication by the three Divisions of the Board.”
This means that even while new claims would be coming in, the processing of filed claims is already going on.
For the sake of those who have yet to file, here is the rest of the announcement:
“We now remind all claimants, who have met the abovementioned deadline, to submit their compliance or ‘to-follow’ documents as soon as possible. Our Central Office at UP Diliman and other HRVCB desks in the Regional Offices of the Commission on Human Rights are open Mondays to Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to accept these documents. Claimants may also send their documents through mail or courier to the [HRVCB], E. Virata Hall, E. Jacinto St., UP Complex, Diliman, Quezon City 1101.
“Compliance documents should be accompanied by a faithful machine copy of the Acknowledgment Receipt given by our intake personnel. The Acknowledgment Receipt contains the Claim Docket Number, Name of the [HRVV] Name of the Applicant, Date of Filing, and the picture and signature of the applicant.
“After the determination by the Divisions, the Board en banc shall approve the list of all eligible claimants which shall be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines. Any opposition to any of the new eligible claimants shall be entertained only if filed within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of the last publication of the list. On the other hand, an aggrieved claimant or oppositor will have a period of ten (10) calendar days from the receipt of the assailed Resolution to file their appeal with the Board en banc whose decision shall be final and executory.
“Within thirty (30) days after the Board has approved with finality each eligible claim, and after due publication, the monetary award shall become effective. Only then may the Board distribute monetary compensation to eligible claimants seeking reparation. Nevertheless, persons declared as HRVVs, whether they sought reparation or not, shall be recognized by enshrining their names in a Roll of Human Rights Victims to be prepared by the Board.
“On the issue of fraudulent or fictitious claims, the Board Secretariat, in coordination with law enforcement agencies, will also conduct a thorough investigation pursuant to Section 25 of Republic Act No. 10368.”
The HRVCB emphasizes the importance of “truth-telling” as an indispensable feature of the reparation and recognition process. With the joint support of the government and the public, the HRVCB hopes to fulfill its mandate to bring justice to legitimate victims.
Some reminders for new applicants:
- Personal filing is required. Applications cannot be accepted by mail.
- A notarized statement must be submitted narrating the human rights violation together with supporting documents and/or notarized statement of two persons with personal knowledge of the violation plus two government-issued IDs and/or Birth Certificate/Marriage Certificate/Death Certificate as the case may be.
- Filing of applications in the provinces is scheduled. No walk-ins. Call the HRVCB offices in UP ISSI Building, Diliman, Quezon City, or the HRVCB Regional Desks located in the regional offices of the Commission on Human Rights for the proper schedule. Applicants may send inquiries to [email protected]
- An acknowledgment receipt with the photo and signature of the applicant who filed the application will be issued. This does not automatically entitle the victim to reparation or recognition. This is just a proof of acceptance of the application. The validity of all claims shall be decided upon by the divisions of the Board.
- Claimants who are abroad may send e-mail to [email protected]
- Failure to file the application within the prescribed period is deemed a waiver of the right to file a claim for reparation and recognition under RA 10368.
- For more information, visit the HRVCB official website, www.hrvclaimsboard.gov.ph, or call 0999-505-9737, (02) 373-4847 or (02) 533-1872.
Easter Day is nigh. Alleluia!
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