Senate resolution extends human rights victims fund to 2019
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on justice and human rights has recommended the extension of the availability of funds for victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee, pushed for the immediate approval of Senate Joint Resolution No. 13 filed by Sens. Francis Escudero and Ralph Recto extending the availability of funds for the indemnification of human rights victims until December 2019.

The House of Representatives approved its counterpart House Joint Resolution 26 last August.

Escudero’s resolution seeks to extend the maintenance, availability and release of billions of funds deposited at the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to ensure that all legitimate claimants under Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims and Recognition Act of 2013 will be able to get their monetary reparations, particularly those who were issued checks by LBP.

As of May 11, 2018, the Human Rights Victims Claims Board had been able to approve and duly recognize 11,103 claimants out of more than 75,000 applicants.

Escudero said as of June 28, 2018, the Human Rights Victims Claims Board account with the LBP reported a balance of P792.629 million.

The amount, he said, can only be maintained until Aug. 11, 2018, after which the balance would be reverted to the Bureau of Treasury.

However, there were reports from several approved claimants’ relatives that they were not able to encash the checks even with the issuance of Special Powers of Attorney.

“It is the sense of the Senate and the House of Representatives that the funds be effectively distributed, especially to the approved and qualified claimants,” the joint resolution stated, stressing that the Commission on Audit, LBP and Bureau of Treasury should coordinate with the Commission on Human Rights to ensure the distribution of valid claims.

FRANCIS ESCUDERO HUMAN RIGHTS
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