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PIA Press Release
2006/10/12

Govít to aid Mindanao bombing victims

Quezon City (12 October) -- JUSTICE Secretary Raul Gonzalez has ordered the Board of Claims, prosecutors from Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato, and the Witness Protection Program (WPP) to assist the bombing victims in the two provinces.

At least six people were killed and more than two dozen were wounded when explosions rocked Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat and Makilala town in North Cotabato this week.

Authorities claimed that the bombings could have been the handiwork of terrorists, notably from the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Southeast Asian terrorist network, both with alleged links to Osama bin Ladenís Al-Qaeda.

A third explosion occurred at a mall in Cotabato City although there were no reported injuries or casualties.

"You are hereby directed to closely coordinate with the local government units, law enforcement and AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] units and to provide the necessary assistance for government's legal offensive," Gonzalez said in his memorandum.

"The Board of Claims is directed to expedite the processing of applications and compensation to bombing victims who qualify for benefits under the Victims Compensation Law to mitigate their loss."

"The WPP is hereby directed to proactively search, secure, and protect material witnesses to enhance government effort to bring the perpetrators before the bar of justice," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez directed the BOC, WPP, City Prosecutors of Tacurong City, and Kidapawan, Provincial Prosecutors of Sultan Kudarat, and North Cotabato to periodically submit a compliance report.

Under the law, victims of heinous crimes, such as those from bombings, may receive P10,000 in compensation under the DoJís Victims Compensation Program.

The program also awards the maximum amount of P1,000 for every month of detention or imprisonment not exceeding P60,000 to those unjustly imprisoned.

A victim of a violent crime should include in his application form any evidence that would prove that he was a victim of a violent crime, such as a certified true copy of a police report or a doctor's certificate; if claimant is an heir, he shall also submit a death certificate of the person entitled to an award or government doctor's certificate of incapacity, a marriage certificate if claimant is the spouse, a birth certificate if claimant is a child, or proof of relationship that he is a parent, brother or sister.

A victim of unjust imprisonment or conviction but released by virtue of a judgment of acquittal must submit a certified true copy of the judgment of acquittal; certified true copies of the commitment order and release from confinement by jail warden or prison authority.

Under the law, the DoJ has thirty days to process the claim after the application submitted has been validated. (PIA) [top]

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