DOJ, CHR sign Memorandum of Agreement for the Victims Compensation Program to establish referral system for human rights violation victims

DOJ, CHR sign Memorandum of Agreement for the Victims Compensation Program to establish referral system for human rights violation victims

With the common goal of instituting proactive means to further assist victims of human rights violations, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Department of Justice Board of Claims (DOJ-BOC) inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Victims Compensation Program (VCP) on 14 March 2024. This partnership is a testament to the commitment of both institutions in fostering a government which constantly responds to the needs of victims, and that their rights are constantly respected, protected, and fulfilled by duty-bearers.

It must be noted that the DOJ currently holds the BOC under Republic Act No. 7309 which “grant[s] compensation for victims of unjust imprisonment or detention and victims of violent crimes.”[1]

Through this agreement, the CHR will utilise its constitutional mandate to investigate human rights violations by directly referring all interested and qualified applicants of the VCP to the DOJ-BOC. This includes victims of extrajudicial killings, torture, enforced disappearances, unjust imprisonment, human trafficking, and online sexual exploitation among others. The Commission will also be able to accept cases endorsed by the DOJ-BOC which may be eligible for financial assistance.

On the other hand, the DOJ-BOC will facilitate the evaluation of claims for compensation referred by the CHR. The MOA also ensures that monitoring and recording of cases will be coordinated with the CHR through a docketing system, including incidents which do not fall under the initial list of the Board of Claims.

This cooperation directly answers the call for the State to constantly value the dignity of every Filipino and to guarantee full respect for their rights. It also envisions a stronger realisation of the Philippine government of its obligation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to ensure that victims of human rights violations and abuses are provided with an enforceable right to compensation.

“By broadening the reach of this compensation system through this cooperation agreement, we are ensuring recognition of the fundamental human rights and establishing accountability for violations or abuses—a step forward to a progressive realisation of transitional justice,” Chairperson Richard Palpal-latoc said in his speech.

We express our high hopes that this MOA will allow the CHR and the DOJ to take a more active role in assisting victims of human rights violations and abuses in claiming for compensation.

The Commission remains steadfast in its position that partnerships within the government such as the DOJ-BOC allows for more avenues to build pathways towards a more just and equitable society, where the rights of the victims of unjust imprisonment and violent crimes are constantly put at the forefront of State-level efforts. Instrumental to the preservation of the country’s lifeblood is ensuring that no one is left behind in upholding the rights of all Filipinos across all sectors.###


[1] Victims Compensation Program, Department of Justice https://www.doj.gov.ph/victims-compensation-program.html