MANILA, Philippines – Philippine lawmakers are preparing to approve $246 million in compensation for thousands of people who were persecuted decades ago under dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
It will be the first time the government officially recognizes the suffering of people like Bonifacio Ilagan, a playwright and writer for an underground communist newspaper. He was arrested and tortured, and his sister disappeared in a maze of police cells and military houses.
Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law in 1972. Detentions, beatings, harassment and killings of regime opponents continued until Marcos was toppled in 1986.
Now, 27 years later, the Philippine Congress is expected to ratify a bill awarding compensation and recognition to martial law victims on Tuesday or Wednesday. The money was recovered by the government from Marcos' ill-gotten wealth.