Congress has approved compensation almost 30 years after Marcos fled the country (File photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Congress ratified a bill Monday that will compensate victims of human rights abuses during the two-decade rule of the late president Ferdinand Marcos.
Once signed by President Benigno Aquino, the law will grant reparations for human rights violations victims, including plaintiffs of a 1992 case in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In 1992, victims of atrocities during Marcos' rule won a class action suit in Hawaii against the Marcos estate.
Under the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, the 9,539 victims in the Hawaii class action suit will be awarded compensation using US$246 million, roughly P10 billion, that the government recovered from Marcos’ Swiss bank accounts.
The amount each will receive will depend on the abuse suffered at the hands of Marcos' security forces during the 1970s and the 1980s.
"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, said in a statement.
"This bill should make us realize that never again should we allow [the atrocities] of the Marcos regime to happen in this country," said Senator Francis Escudero.
A compensation board that will look into the applications of human rights victims will be set up and will be composed of nine members selected by the president out of nominees from human rights groups.
The Commission on Human Rights has recorded about 6,000 cases of abuses during martial law, involving about 12,000 victims eligible for compensation.