Senate Okays P10-B Compensation for Martial Law Victims
Byline: JUDE C. GALFORD III
After two years of deliberation, the Senate has finally approved the Human Rights Victims Compensation Act, allotting P10 billion to compensate thousands of martial law victims.
Voting 13-0-2 on the measure, the chamber approved the bill with no negative votes and two abstentions cast. Senators Richard Gordon and Juan Ponce Enrile abstained.
Senators expressed elation over the approval of the measure at plenary Monday night, which will fully reward some 10,000 human rights victims during the martial law years, covering the period from Sept. 21, 1972 to Feb. 25, 1986.
Committee on Justice and Human Rights chairman Sen. Joker Arroyo described the measure's approval as a landmark achievement being the first government mandated compensation act.
"This is the first large compensation bill ever given by the Philippine government. We will recall during the Filipino-American war, our veterans were given a measly compensation," said Arroyo.
He added that not even the aging World War II veterans were fully compensated either by the government or the United States.
In a press briefing, Arroyo explained that the gesture of the government to compensate thousands of human rights victims did not come from any pressure from the victims themselves.
Arroyo stressed that the bill has been long overdue, having been sponsored for enactment at the chamber in 2004 as a Palace-certified urgent measure. …