24 September 2015
FORTY-THREE years since the imposition of the Marcos martial law in the Philippines, and two years after President Noynoy Aquino signed RA 10368 into law, the victims of human rights violations have yet to hear from the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB), the government agency that oversees the reparation and recognition process. What gives?
The victims, ageing and mostly sickly, through its organization Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda), demand that the law be fulfilled to its end now and not any time longer. The Facebook account of the board itself is deluged with posts reiterating immediate reparation and recognition.
The delay, says Selda, reflects how the Aquino government treats human rights victims then and now, as it notes the increasing number of rights violations in the waning months of the administration. For months now, a vacancy in the board has not been addressed, further slowing down the work of the agency. Mr. Aquino appointed former board member Chito Gascon to head the Commission on Human Rights but did not bother to replace him in the claims board.
By next year, the HRVCB’s term shall end, as stipulated in the law that created it.
Noting that many of the victims have succumbed to poverty-driven illnesses, Selda raises a collective question: “Aanhin pa ang damo, kung patay na ang kabayo?”