[Press Release] PNoy urged to extend deadline for the Martial Law victims’ claim -PAHRA

PNoy urged to extend deadline for the Martial Law victims’ claim

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), a coalition of human rights groups, is urging Pres. Noynoy Aquino to immediately act and certify as urgent a Joint Resolution for the extension of filing of Martial Law victims’ claim.

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Under the Senate Joint Resolution No. 10 and House of Representatives Joint Resolution No. 16 extending for six months the application period for the victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law period as stipulated in the Republic Act No. 10368,
http://www.gov.ph/2013/02/25/republic-act-no-10368/ otherwise known as the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

?Max de Mesa, PAHRA Chairperson, noted that the deadline for the filing of claims on November 10, 2014 is fast approaching but many human rights victims have yet to file their claims before the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB).

“PNoy’s action by certifying urgent the resolution for extension in filing claims will give hope to many human rights victims by giving more time for them to prepare and complete their claims and for the HRVCB to complete its mandate,” PAHRA Secretary General, Rose Trajano, said.

“There are, in fact, more than 7,000 undocumented human rights victims from the cursory research conducted by our group, apart from the more than 9,000 Hawaii class suit claimants. As of October 2014, HRVCB has received only around 29,000 claims, lower than the 55,000 to 90,000 applications expected by the Board officials. It is evident that much more work has to be done if we are going to provide compensation and give some measure of justice to all deserving claimants.” De Mesa explained.

An active search and assistance by PAHRA members and network of civil society organizations and human rights defenders’ organizations are supplementing the best efforts of the Board in reaching out to communities all over the country.

“The extension, more than the filing of claim, ensure that all human rights victims will be given access to a means of gaining redress for the sufferings and sacrifices that they endured during the Martial Law,” De Mesa continued.

PAHRA stressed that both the HRVCB and the Commission on Human Rights have also seen the urgent need to extend the period for filing of claims under the said law, because of the huge numbers of applicants coming in to the Board’s main office in Quezon City as well as at its scheduled mobile intakes in the regions and provinces, is posing a big challenge to the existing and available resources of the Board, given the time allowed by the law which shall end on November 10, 2014. Under RA 10368, “(t)hat ‘failure to application within said period is deemed a waiver of the right to file the same.”

The House of Representatives passed on Second Reading House Joint Resolution No. 16 filed by Akbayan Representatives Barry Gutierrez and Walden Bello and is set to pass the same on Third Reading next week. While the Senate is expected to pass Senate Joint Resolution No. 10 filed by Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero next week.

Press release
October 24, 2014

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