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Compensation hike for victims of unjust imprisonment, violent crimes sought

Several lawmakers from the House of the Representatives are pushing to amend a 31-year-old law to increase the compensation for victims of heinous crimes and those who were wrongfully detained.

During the hearing of the House Committee on Justice on Wednesday, Quezon City 4th district Representative Marvin Rillo said that monetary awards and compensations should be reviewed to determine if it could still keep up with the present value of a person’s cost of living and loss of income.

Rillo was referring to Republic Act No. 7309, enacted in 1992, which created the Board of Claims (BOC) under the Department of Justice (DOJ) to compensate the victims of unjust imprisonment or detention of up to P1,000 per month.

The BOC may also grant claims up to P10,000 “or the amount necessary to reimburse the claimant the expenses incurred for hospitalization, medical treatment, loss of wage, loss of support, or other expenses directly related to injury, whichever is lower.”

“The amounts of P1,000 or P10,000 may have been sufficient to cover an individual’s cost of living for a month or a few months back in the 90’s. But today in 2023, and after inflation, these amounts are now barely sufficient to pay for a person’s cost of living or hospitalization for even a day,” Rillo argued.

By filing House Bill 5029, the solon aims to increase the compensation from P1,000 to P5,000 per month and increase the annual funding and allocation for the Victims Compensation Fund.

Muntinlupa Representative Jaime Fresnedi and Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez also filed HBs 7054 and 6756, respectively, in a bid to amend RA 7309.

The House panel created a technical working group to consolidate the three bills.

The BOC, Public Attorneys Office (PAO), and Commission on Human Rights (CHR), among other agencies, expressed support for the proposed measures. —VAL, GMA Integrated News