PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has approved a joint resolution from Congress that extends the validity and availability of funds for human rights victims during the martial law regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Joint Resolution 4 extends until December 31, 2019 the distribution of P10 billion worth of reparation to legitimate victims of human righs violations committed during the Marcos administration.
Duterte's joint resolution authorizes the Bureau of Treasury and the Land Bank of the Philippines to release the funds.
It also allows the Commission on Human Rights to administer the effective distribution of compensation to claimants.
The President decided to extend the validity and release of funds, following the reported delays in the distribution of monetary claims to claimants. The checks are good for only three months after the date of issuance.
"There have been reports from several approved claimants' relatives that they were not able to encash the checks even with the issuance of Special Power of Attorney," the resolution reads.
"Many of the claimants are concerned of the time constraint to process matters relating to the distribution of monetary claims until August 2018," it added.
The government has allocated around P10 billion taken from Marcos's supposed ill-gotten wealth for the compensation of victims of human rights violations.
The now-defunct Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) had approved a total of 11,103 legitimate claimants out of over 75,000 applicants as of May 11, 2018.
As of June 28, 2018, the remaining balance of unclaimed funds was P792.628 million. If unencashed, the funds will be reverted to the Bureau of Treasury.
Joint Resolution 4 noted that the HRVCB also issued 451 "problematic" checks to martial law victims amounting to P350.13 million.
Some 291 of 451 checks worth P239.198 million were not released, while the remaining 160 checks amounting to P110.931 million were issued to deceased claimants.
"It is the sense ot the Senate and the House of Representatives that the funds be effectively distributed, especially to the approved and qualified claimants, as duly processed and termined by the HRVCB," Joint Resolution 4 stressed. (SunStar Philippines)