Senate committee okays CHR budget for 2019
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Senate's finance committee on Tuesday, September 11, approved the proposed budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for 2019.
The commission’s proposed P689.706 million budget for 2019 will now move to the plenary for deliberations.
“Stay relevant, stay focused, and be more objective," Senator Panfilo Lacson told the CHR. "And when I say more, I don't mean you are not objective."
CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit said that they are grateful for the support of senators – including Senators Lacson, Gringo Honasan, and Senate President Tito Sotto, among others.
“Their comments and pieces of advice are well taken and the commission will continue to endeavour to work to the best of our abilities pursuant to our constitutional mandate,” she said.
The Senate committee’s fast approval also mirrors what happened in the House of Representatives.
The House committee on appropriations approved the commission’s proposed budget in less than 5 minutes in September 4 – just after CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon’s opening statement.
While there will still going to be plenary deliberations, CHR’s experience so far in this budget season is a stark contrast from what happened in 2017 when then House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez threatened to give zero budget or even abolish the commission.
Senate’s handling of the controversy in 2017 was far better. The commission breezed through the budget hearing, even receiving an additional funding from the senators for its 2018 budget.
President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies have consistently threatened CHR over its stance against the killings under the violent war on drugs. (READ: The Impunity Series)
Under the 1987 Constitution, the commission is mandated to investigate allegations of human rights abuses but has so far faced challenges due to non-cooperation of state forces, including the Philippine National Police. (READ: Climate of fear: Justice remains elusive 2 years into Duterte's drug war) – Rappler.com