Makabayan lawmakers push higher budget for CHR amid 'climate of injustice'
MANILA, Philippines – Legislators belonging to the Makabayan bloc on Wednesday, September 18, urged the House of Representatives to increase the 2020 budget of the Commission on Human Rights amid what they called the "climate of injustice" under the Duterte administration.
The CHR's proposed budget for 2020 is P819.665 million – nearly P10 million lower than its budget for this year.
Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas manifested that the CHR budget for 2020 should be increased so that the agency can perform its mandate as provided under the 1987 Constitution.
“Malaki ang kinaltas [sa proposed budget ng CHR] at hindi inapubrahan ng DBM. Kaya gusto po sana namin na maging priority ng gobyerno na ito ay pangangalaga at pagtatanggol sa karapatang pantao," Brosas said.
(DBM...did not approve a huge chunk of the proposed [CHR] budget. We want this government to prioritize the protection and defense of human rights.)
She proposed an increase of about P80 million to include P15 million for financial assistance for victims’ families, P15 million for operational expenses, P35 million for additional travel expenses for the conduct of investigations, and an additional P500,000 for the proper implementation of the mental health law.
Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago, meanwhile, highlighted the need for a higher CHR budget as the agency faced an unprecedented crisis, mostly in relation to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“Nanawagan tayo na pag-aralan lahat ng option upang higit na taaasan ng pondo ng CHR…lalo na sa panahon na ito na tayo ay kumakaharap sa nakakabahala na klima ng kawalang katarungan,” she said.
(We are calling on everyone to study all options to increase the CHR budget...especially now that we face an alarming climate of injustice.)
The House is expected to begin its period of amendments on the proposed 2020 budget next week.
CHR data showed that it received more than 6,000 complaints over the past year alone. Out of this number, only 964 had been resolved.
Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs is widely criticized for the high number of deaths, with more than 6,000 people in police operations alone. Human rights groups, however, estimate the numbers to reach 25,000 to 27,000 to include victims of vigilante-style killings. (READ: The Impunity Series) – Rappler.com