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Board to start releasing reparations for Martial Law victims Monday

Filipino activists lights candles beside pictures of victims of martial law at the "Bantayog ng mga Bayani" or Monument to the Heroes in suburban Quezon City, north of Manila, Philippines on Sunday, March 6, 2016. AP/Aaron Favila, file
MANILA, Philippines — More than 300 victims of human rights violations during Martial Law, first of a preliminary list of 4,000 eligible claimants, will receive cash cards on Monday, May 8.
 
According to the Human Rights Victims' Claims Board, the reparation payments will be done through the Land Bank cards. Payments for victims or their families who will be receiving more than P100,000 in reparations will come in monthly tranches, the board said in an advisory.
 
The board explained that financial reparations for eligible claimants will have to be determined when all applications have been decided on. In the meantime, it will release partial reparations based on the number of "points" as prescribed by the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.
 
The payouts will be based on an estimate of P25,000 per point multiplied by the number of points that the claimant has been awarded. That amount is then halved for the partial monetary reparation that the HRVCB will release.
 
The distribution of cash cards will be done at the board's office in E. Virata Hall in UP Diliman. Claimants are supposed to bring a 1x1 ID photo and a government ID.
 
The board said it has processed around 31,000 claims from a total 75,730 applicants claiming to have been victims of rights abuses during the administration of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
 
Reparations will be sourced from P10 billion in ill-gotten Marcos wealth that was turned over the the Philippine government by a Swiss court.

'Reparations not atonement'

Some members of online advocacy group The Silent Majority will "witness the ceremonial turnover of the checks to the claimants and make our voices heard" on Monday, board member Jozy Acosta-Nisperos said on her Facebook page on Sunday.
 
"While no amount of money can erase the pain and suffering the victims experienced, this is an important victory for them and for the country," she said.
 
"These reparations in no way serve as atonement for the crimes committed by the late dictator Marcos, especially since Bongbong Marcos himself tried to block the release of the Swiss deposits to fund them in the Supreme Court," she also said.
 
TSM is identified with Vice President Leni Robredo, whom former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has accused of cheating in the 2016 elections. Electoral protests by both camps filed at Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, are in motion.
 
Nisperos said the reparations "are an admission by the present government of these crimes, crimes that his surviving family continue to deny while they live lavishly off their fruits."
 
She added "they are irrefutable proof that atrocities were committed, and that the State bears responsibility for human rights violations committed against its citizens, past or present."
 
President Rodrigo Duterte, who ordered the release of reparations fast tracked, ordered the burial of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos' remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani to fulfill a promise made during the election campaign.
 
The government argued that doing so was within the president's prerogative and did not violate any laws, a position that the Supreme Court upheld. Marcos' remains were buried last November, sparking protests on the streets and online.
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