Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today lauded the passage by the two houses of Congress of the law compensating victims of human rights abuses during martial law, saying it was about time that they were given justice.
“It is long overdue and I’m glad that it was passed under the administration of President Aquino,” Binay said after the Senate and House of Representatives ratified the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 Monday.
The Vice President further said that the bill’s passage shows the common commitment of government to uphold human rights.
“For those of us who were jailed during martial law, and for those who were tortured and subjected to indignites, it’s not about the actual compensation but the recognition that the rights of an individual were violated by a regime,” he added.
The Vice President, who was a human rights lawyer, was detained after the declaration of martial law in September 1972.
The bill mandates the setting aside of a P10-billion fund, including the accrued interest, to finance the claims of victims. According to reports, the deposits currently amount to $625 million.
Binay has also been pushing for the establishment of a museum showcasing the people’s struggles during martial law. His proposal was prompted after a visit to the Korean War Museum in Seoul, and a similar suggestion by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay after a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Israel.
“It has been said that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. With our own Memory Museum, it is my hope that future generations will not only recognize the heroism and sacrifice of nameless Filipinos who suffered torture, indignity and death so we may live in freedom, but will cherish and protect this freedom,” Binay expressed.