Sep 212014
On the 42nd anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, party-list lawmakers have urged Congress to extend the deadline – from November 2014 to May next year – for the filing of claims by victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime.

Akbayan party-list Reps. Ibarra Gutierrez and Walden Bello have filed Joint House Resolution No. 16 prolonging the period for the filing of claims to cope with the large number of victims seeking reparation and recognition under Republic Act 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

The law recognizes  as conclusively presumed human rights violation victims (HRVVs) claimants of the class suit and direct action plaintiffs of cases filed in Honolulu and other US courts against the late President Ferdinand Marcos, and those recognized by the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.

In a statement on Sunday, Gutierrez said Congress’ adoption of the joint resolution will ensure “the struggles of the people who have fought the Marcos dictatorship are given due recognition and the full opportunity to secure their rightful place in our history.”

The draft Joint House Resolution 16 seeks to give human rights violation victims, their legal heirs or representatives are given a six-month extension from November 10, 2014 to file an application for compensation with the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB).

The board will be mandated to establish permanent application centers or desks in all regional offices of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to guarantee accessibility for victims filing their claims within the extended application period.

Under RA 10368, the failure of a victim or his heir to file an application with HRVCB by Nov. 10, 2014 is deemed a waiver of his right to seek compensation. The board started processing application last May.

Gutierrez and Bello said they proposed the six-month extension to allow legitimate claimants, especially those living in far-flung areas of the country, full opportunity to file their claims with the HRVCB.

“The huge number of applicants coming in to the Board’s main office in Quezon City as well as its scheduled mobile intakes in the regions and provinces, pose a big challenge to the existing and available material and human resources of the Board, and has therefore made it apparent that there is a need to extend the period for filing of claims…,” the lawmakers said.

Aside from extending the application period for human rights violation victims, the proposed measure also seeks to extend the life of HRCVB from May 12, 2016 to November of the same year to be able to complete its work. Xianne Arcangel /LBG, GMA News

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