Palace mulls issuing EO to extend processing of claims of martial law victims

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FILE PHOTO of Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. — PCOO

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. on Monday, Aug. 6, said an executive order (EO) may be needed to extend the operations of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) for the processing of the claims of martial law human rights victims who have not yet received their monetary compensation.

Makikipagpulong ako po mismo as the presidential adviser on human rights doon sa opisyales ng Human Rights [Victims’] Claims Board. Siguro gagawin ko po itong prayoridad ngayung linggong ito,” Mr. Roque said in a press briefing.

(I will meet with the officials of the HRVCB in my capacity as the presidential adviser on human rights. I will take this as my priority this week.)

He added: Ang problema po diyan natapos na po ‘yung buhay ng (the problem is that life of the) Human Rights [Victims’] Claims Board (have already ended) at parang ayaw na i-honor ng (and it seems that the) LANDBANK ‘yung mga (does not want to honor the) signatures [anymore]. So baka kinakailangan po gumawa ng (an) executive order (may be necessary) para lamang ma-extend ‘yung buhay (to extend its life) just for the purpose of the banks honoring the signature of the designated signatories of the claims board.”

Sought for comment, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate said the issuance of an EO is “one of the options” being considered.

Mr. Zarate filed House Joint Resolution No. 24 last month for the extension of the validity and availability of the fund for the Marcos human rights violation victims with the Land Bank of the Philippines.

The resolution also seeks to authorize the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to administer the effective distribution of the funds to qualified victims or their heirs or representatives until Dec. 2019.

The resolution noted that the HRVCB was able to approve and recognize the 11,103 legitimate claimants out of more than 75,000 applicants.

“However, the HRVCB was only able to completely resolve the 6,737 appeals on May 6, 2018, or six (60 days before the law’s sunset (May 12). The checks issued by the HRVCB for the human rights victims have validity of only three (3) months,” the resolution also read.