Enact Marcos Victims Compensation Bill into law

THE Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) urged the government to expedite the enactment of the Marcos Victims Compensation Bill into law, as Pres. Aquino called for the creation of a five-member advisory board to collate stories of people who suffered and sacrificed their lives during martial law.

“The President’s move is long overdue in the same way that the passage of the bill is.  He should as well put the compensation  bill on top of his list, and speed up the process of indemnifying the victims of martial law. Otherwise, our stories for the next generation would include how the governments after Marcos ignored the injustices we suffered under martial law, which in itself is also injustice,” Bonifacio Ilagan, SELDA Vice-Chairperson said.

Ilagan,was chairman of the Kabataang Makabayan at the University of the Philippines in Diliman prior to his arrest and torture  in 1974. His sister Rizalina, a student leader in the University of the Philippines – Los Baños disappeared in 1977 together with 9 other activists. Three were found dead while the rest remain missing. Today, Ilagan still carries with him the ugly scars and trauma of torture, as well as of his sister’s disappearance.

In 1986, SELDA, in behalf of the 9,539 victims of human rights violations, filed the now historic class action suit against Ferdinand Marcos in Hawaii. Winning the case in 1992, the victims of the dictatorship still seek justice to date, while the Marcoses have returned and regained their political clout.

“The indemnification bill has been filed and refiled since 1998. When are we going to see this become a law?” Ilagan concluded.

“The ML victims’ fight for justice and indemnification is integral to  our collective story,” Ilagan stressed, adding that if Aquino wishes to educate the youth  and make  Filipinos remember  history, his government should also act and help attain justice for the victims and survivors of that dark period by finally making the bill into law.

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