By Charmaine A. Tadalan
THE HOUSE OF Representatives has approved on third and final reading a joint resolution extending until December 2019 reparation funds to victims of Ferdinand E. Marcos’s martial-law regime.
House Joint Resolution No. 26, authored by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate, proposes to authorize the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to release funds to victims of human rights violation and to their families after it ended in May 2018.
Republic Act 10368, enacted in 2013, provides in part reparation and recognition of victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime and mandates the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) to distribute for these purposes a total of P10 billion in two years. The board’s life was extended for another two years with Republic Act 10766.
According to Mr. Zarate, as of May 11, 2018, the board has approved 11,103 legitimate claimants among more than 75,000 applicants.
“As of June 28, 2018, the HRVCB account with the Land Bank of the Philippines reported a balance of P792.628 million,” Mr. Zarate said in his resolution. The remaining balance had been maintained until Aug. 11 and is expected to be reverted to the BTr.
The resolution also seeks to provide a more efficient distribution of funds to the victims, following the reported issuance of 451 “problematic” checks.
Mr. Zarate cited “291 checks which amounted to P239 million, representing unreleased checks, and 160 checks amounting to P110.9 million, representing checks issued to payees who are now deceased.”