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Martial Law victims file claims for compensation

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union—Hundreds of alleged human rights victims of Martial Law during the Marcos Administration started filing claims for recognition and reparation here, Monday as various Ilocos Region groups flocked to the City Hall to process their papers.

A jailed media man, Cris Corpuz, who was accused of subversion, said the parties were seeking a P10-billion reparation for damages over illegal detention, intimidation, kidnapping, summary execution and torture.

“It is a deposited account in a Swiss Bank by the government which is intended (for) claimants (10 percent) with 90 percent going to the agrarian reform,” he told Manila Standard while awaiting his turn at a counter in Dacanay Session Hall.

The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board earlier held consultations here on the rules on the law on  reparation and recognition of Martial Law victims prior to processing applications for six months starting in May this year.

According to the board, those qualified to seek payments include petitioners to the P$2 billion-class suit in Hawaii against the Marcos estate, victims recognized by the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation and undocumented victims.

Under the reparation law, an independent body (board)  will receive, evaluate, process and investigate applications for compensation from the P10 billion fund that the government set aside from the Marcos estate.

Arlene Jabinar, of Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA)–Karapatan from Tagudin and Pulag, and whose husband and father-in-law were allegedly detained and tortured by the defunct Philippine Constabulary, said that they have received P43,000 in 2011 and P50,000 this year.

The Commission on Human Rights head in Region 1, said at least 120 claimants in the Ilocos have received compensation from the Hawaii class suit.

For all the agony suffered under the dictatorship, a pay-out is hardly expected by Zoilo Baladad, an advocate aligned with IHRA.

“Hindi mababayaran ng pera ang lahat ng ginawa nila, ang importante sa amin ay ma-recognize (No amount of money will be enough to answer for the harm done to us, what is import is for us to be recognized),” she told Manila Standard.

Cris Palabay, a former leader of STOP Exploitation and erstwhile Bauang municipal administrator said that he was also detained and that his brothers, Manrique and Romulo, were killed in Nueva Ecija and Ifugao, respectively.

“They were shot and what remained only of Manrique were his gold teeth that we found in his grave,” he said.

Corpuz, who was a teacher of the Christ the King College at the time, said how was picked up by the constabulary the day before Marcos declared Martial Law on Sept. 21, 1972 but was lucky enough to be placed under the custody of then-Archbishop Victorino Ligot.

“I was required to report to the PC camp (now Diego Silang Camp in Barangay Carlatan) for five years,” he said, adding that the authorities made him sign a log book, too.

The claims board estimates about 40,000 applications to be processed until November.

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