To compensate victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, Migrante Sydney Neighbourhood, a Filipino non-profit organisation in the country, launched Project Sanctuary on 19 October 2013, at the ground floor, Search Foundation, 128 Chalmers St. Surry Hills, Sydney.
Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines as President from 1966 to 1986, fourteen years of which was under martial law. Martial law was paper lifted in 1981. According to one human rights group, nearly 100,000 were arrested, tortured, imprisoned or extra-judicially killed during martial law years 1972-1981.
Project Sanctuary will ensure that Filipino migrants in Australia are guided and well informed of their allotted compensation from the P10B pesos (A$24 million) offered by the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which has been enacted for a year now and signed on February 25 this year by Aquino III.
The group is asking President Benigno Aquino III to immediately constitute the Board which will manage the claims. President Aquino III’s father, Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., himself was slain in November 1983 at the then Manila International Airport as he was returning from exile in the US. The family strongly points culpability on the then Marcos government.
According to Migrante Sydney Neighbourhood spokesperson Maria Elena Ang, herself a victim of torture during the Martial Law in the Philippines, the group will offer legal and para-legal and other benefits as psychological and social assistance. “It is our fervent desire to help these martial law victims. Most of them are already suffering from old age and debility from their martial law suffering. Their health conditions were worsened by the emotional and physical cruelty they experienced. It is best that we help them get their claims not so much for the monetary benefit, as a recognition that crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations of a dictatorship anywhere will not go unpunished and forgotten,” she said.
Migrante Sydney Neighbourhood will assist qualified victims in making applications for compensation aligned with the procedures set by the as-yet-to-be-formed Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board in the Philippines.
Get more stories like this in your inbox!
Sign up for our newsletter and receive regular updates.