Survivors Draft New Reparations Bill

The Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission (HRVVMC) recognizes and honors the hardships and sacrifices of the victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law 1972-1986. In line with this, the commission conducts discussion groups among the survivors of the human rights violations caused by the Marcos administration, referred to as the Survivors’ Discussion Group (SDG), to connect, inform and assist the survivors about the plans and the programs of the commission.

To date, the agency was able to conduct SDGs in 8 cities – Manila, Davao, Iloilo, Tacloban, Antique, Bacolod, Samar and Cebu. With the Covid-19 pandemic situation, our team decided to continue the implementation of this discussion groups in a new setting – online.

For the duration of the community quarantine, we have conducted seventeen (17) weekly meetings every Tuesday at 10 in the morning. The participants in these discussion groups are human rights violations survivors during Marcos martial law representing Iloilo/Panay Islands, Cebu, Nueva Vizcaya/Ilocos area, Samar and NCR.

The work of the Survivors' Discussion Group (SDG) and the commission to assist its stakeholders, continues despite the global pandemic. Here is an example of the team in an online meeting while brainstorming on assistance for denied claimants and possible new reparations.

During one of the online meetings, the survivors talked about offering psychological assistance for the HRVVMC staff, approved claimants of HRVCB and denied claimants of HRVCB. The discussion regarding this assistance led to the conception of another form of assistance – reparations and recognition of the denied claimants and those victims who haven’t applied at all.

In this regard, the survivors proposed to draft a bill that will cover the items that they thought could be included in a new reparations and recognition bill for the human rights violations committed during the Marcos martial law. The team comprised by Dr. Aurora Parong, Ed Carilimdiliman, Rolando Librojo, Ester Isberto, and Meinrado Paredes, cooperated with Atty. Cyrille de Asis from the office of Congressman Lawrence Fortun (Agusan del Norte’s First District Representative), Mr. Ramon Navarra Jr. from the office of Senator Risa Hontiveros and Atty. Johmar Asalan from the Commission on Human Rights, with the HRVVMC as the moderator.

Together, they have accomplished a draft bill entitled “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE REPARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS VICTIMS, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”. The bill was forwarded to the offices of Cong. Zarate, Cong. Brosas, Cong. Castro, Cong. Elago, Cong. Fortun, and Cong. Lagman in the House of Representatives and to the offices of Sen. Hontiveros, Sen. Recto, Sen. De Lima, Sen. Poe, Sen. Villanueva, Sen. Pimentel, Sen. Pangilinan, Sen. Binay, and Sen. Drilon in the Senate.

Amid this challenging time in our nation’s history brought about by the Covid-19 crisis, the commission remains unrelenting to fulfill its mandate – to recognize and honor the sufferings and sacrifices of the human rights violations victims of Marcos martial law.