In May UN report, PH boasted of higher CHR budget
MANILA, Philippines – Four months before the House of Representatives voted to slash the budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to P1,000 ($20), the Philippines was singing another tune.
In its report to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in May, the Philippines listed a higher budget for the CHR as one of its achievements in promoting human rights.
"Congress recognized the need for the CHR to increase its resources and expand its activities in relation to the investigation of human rights cases, provision of assistance to victims and other operational programs," the Philippines said in its report to the UN Human Rights Council in May.
"CHR's budget of P439 million ($8.58 million) in 2016 almost doubled to P724.9 ($14.17 million) in 2017. From 2012-2017, the CHR budget grew by 165%," the Philippines told the UN.
"A bill has also been filed to strengthen the CHR’s functional and structural organization, equipping it with prosecutorial and quasi-judicial power to make it more effective," the country said.
The Philippines submitted this report as it underwent the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 8.
Then-senator Alan Peter Cayetano spoke on behalf of the Philippines during the UPR on that day, when at least 45 countries called on the Philippines to probe extrajudicial killings in the country.
In a Facebook post on Monday, September 11, the CHR said the Philippines reported to the UN "a promise to continually augment the CHR's budget."
The CHR said the Philippines cited "last year's increase from P439 million to P724 million, as a way to show that this administration supports human rights programs and initiatives."
This is contrary to what happened on Tuesday, September 12, then the House, dominated by administration allies, voted 119-32 to allocate only P1,000 for the CHR in 2018.
Vice President Leni Robredo likened the move of the House to "abolishing the CHR." UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard said that this is "reprehensible and unconscionable," while Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said that this "is a most stupid and shameful decision." – Rappler.com
*$1 = P51.12