Victims’ rights pushed

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SAMAHAN ng mga Ex-detainees (Selda)-Northern Luzon chair Joanna Cariño is pushing for calls on the newly appointed Human Rights Victims Claims board for impartiality.

"We challenge the Human Rights Claims Board to rise over its partisanship and to do right by the majority of victims and claimants who are represented by Selda," Carino said.

Cariño criticized the appointment of retired police general Lina Sarmiento as head of the claims board pointing out he comes from the very institution accused of committing human rights violations.


Malacañang announced Sarmiento's appointment February 12 and the other members of the claims board include Wilfred Asis, Galuasch Ballaho, Byron Bocar, Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Glenda Litong, Jacqueline Veloria Majia, Aurora Corazon Parong and Erlinda Senturias.

Sarmiento retired last month as the Philippine National Police's directorate for police community relations.

The board has the power to receive, evaluate, process and investigate applications for claims; conduct independent administrative proceedings and resolve disputes over claims and approve with finality all eligible claims and to deputize appropriate government agencies to assist in the dispensing its functions.

Carino said human rights violations continue under the Aquino administration.

"It is not only this long delay in the implementation of the law and now questionable composition of the Claims Board. Illegal detention, torture, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances have continued under the P-Noy (Aquino) regime," Carino added.

Carino said many of the victims are indigenous leaders asserting their land rights against large-scale destructive mining and the plunder of the nation’s patrimony and environment.

The group cited ongoing militarization of the countryside in implementation of Oplan Bayanihan has caused the evacuation of communities and the violation of civilian rights.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 19, 2014.

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