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Aquino vows to fast-track compensation for rights victims

The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

VIENTIANE, Laos—President Benigno Aquino III has vowed to fast-track the completion of the compensation process for victims of human rights abuses during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship, his spokesperson said.

Mr. Aquino made the statement during a meeting on Monday with Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, according to Secretary Herminio Coloma, head of the presidential communications operations office.

“He promised to do, that the government will do, what is needed to complete the process of getting the compensation paid out eventually to the intended beneficiaries,” Coloma told reporters. “So this means clearing whatever administrative or procedural hurdles still need to be handled or resolved.”

The compensation bill has to be passed into law first before the Marcoses’ Swiss bank deposits, which have been transferred to the Philippine government, could be released to the victims.

The House of Representatives passed the compensation bill on third and final reading early this year, but the measure has apparently stalled in the Senate.

Aside from the Swiss government, Mr. Aquino held bilateral talks with Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and trilateral meetings with Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, and Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission.

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