By  Jessica Bartolome
Source: GMA News

Martial Law victims on Tuesday welcomed the “unprecedented” move of the Philippine government to provide compensation to human rights victims during the regime of former president Ferdinand Marcos, but said the money does not repair the damage inflicted by the family of the late dictator.

The government has released initial compensation in accordance with the 2013 Republic Act 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act. Almost 400 Martial Law victims were given the first tranche of compensation for the suffering they endured during the regime of Marcos.

In a joint statement, the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, Inc., Claimants 1081 Foundation, Inc., and Lingap-Bilanggo said that the move signals the long-awaited reparation process.

“Today marks the beginning of that reparation process, both monetary and non-monetary. This is unprecedented in our history, and we reached this point only through persistence, struggle, and faith,” the statement said.

It also said that by providing compensation, the government explicitly recognized the following:

  1. The Marcos regime was responsible for injuries, sufferings, deprivations, and deaths of so many Filipinos.
  2. The Philippine government recognizes the heroism and sacrifice of Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced disappearance, and other violations of human rights by that regime; and
  3. The Philippine government acknowledges its obligation to provide reparation.

However, the groups said that and that only when the Marcos family and their cohorts are made accountable for their crimes will the damage be fully repaired.

“…in no way have the Marcoses participated in this reparation process. And in no way does the release of the reparation money repair the damage the Marcoses inflicted on our families, and, indeed, on the social fabric and our institutions, on the Filipino people,” they said.

“There is no payment imaginable for the generation we lost to the regime — a generation that includes some of the best, the brightest, most nationalistic, and most freedom-loving Filipinos, except to honor their sacrifice and heed the example they have provided us,” they added.

They also pointed out that source of the financial reparation “is money stolen by the Marcos family” and that it is a “miniscule part of the illegal wealth the Marcoses accumulated during their rule.”

Even as the survivors acknowledged the significance of the compensation, they made sure to remember the Filipinos who died during the Marcos regime.

“As we welcome the meaning of this day, however, we remember our fellow Filipinos who risked everything they had in order to oppose and defeat the Marcos brutal regime. This recognition and partial compensation is in their honor,” they said.