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Philippines: Compensation to Victims of Martial Law

(Feb. 28, 2013) On February 25, 2013, President Benigno Aquino III of the <?Philippines signed a law giving compensation to victims of human rights violations that occurred when the country was under martial law. The Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, considered to be landmark legislation, is designed to "recognize the suffering of many under martial law," according to Aquino. He thanked the bill's drafters as well as the legislators who proposed it, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. ((PNoy Signs Martial Law Compensation Bill into Law, GMA NEWS ONLINE (Feb. 25, 2013), World News Connection online subscription database, Doc. No.201302251477.1_21b70038a4292d1e.)

The law establishes theHuman Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission andauthorizes P10 billion (about US$245 million) in payments to those victims. The funds are to come from theallegedly ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family. Working with the Department of Education, the Commission will develop educational programs to teach young people about the abuses committed under martial law and about the heroism of the opposition to the government at that time. (Id.)

Martial law was declared in the Philippines under Proclamation 1081 by then-President Ferdinand Marcos in September 1972, and it was maintained until February 1986, when Marcos left the country. (Candice Montenegro & Wayne Manuel, Martial Law Timeline: The Road to Proclamation 1081 and Beyond, GMA NEWS (Sept. 19, 2012).) The new law was issued on the 27th anniversary of the revolt that led to the end of martial law. (PNoy Signs Marital Law Compensation Bill into Law, supra; Proclamation No. 1081, Proclaiming a State of Martial Law in the Philippines (Sept. 21, 1972), THE LAWPHIL PROJECT.)