Philippine seeks compensation for martial law victims

Featured Politics South East Asia - January 29th, 2013

Almost four decades after the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos collapsed, the Philippine government will finally hold his regime accountable for human rights abuses and seek compensation for the victims.

The Philippine Congress is expected to ratify a bill this week seeking $246 million in compensation for thousands of people who were persecuted under the martial law regime, AP reports. The amount that each would receive would depend on what kind of abuse they suffered.

The money that will be used for compensation was recovered by the government from Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth that Swiss authorities have transferred to the Philippines, reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The move marks the first time in 27 years the late dictator will be held responsible for the atrocities and give recognition to those who suffered during the darkest period in Philippine history.

“Finally, over two decades after the fall of the dictatorship, we will have a law that puts the responsibility for human rights abuses square on the shoulder of Marcos and provides justice for all those who suffered under his reign,” Akbayan Party Rep. Walden Bello said in a statement.

The bill is also aimed ensuring the younger generation would learn about the atrocities committed during martial law.

Detentions, torture, harassment and killings of the regime’s opponents were rampant during the 14 years of Marcos’ dictatorship.

“More than the monetary compensation, the bill represents the only formal, written document that martial law violated the human rights of Filipinos and that there were courageous people who fought the dictatorship,” SELDA, an organization of former political prisoners that campaigned for the passage of the bill, said in a statement.