MANILA, Philippines – The Senate finance committee on Monday, September 9, approved the proposed budget for the Commission on Human Rights for 2020.
The proposed P819.665 million for 2020 is now expected to move to the plenary for deliberations. The amount is almost P10 million lower than 2019’s P829.039 million.
Senator Panfilo Lacson asked CHR to submit a list of priority projects to see how much can be augmented to fill in the loss due to the budget decrease.
“We cannot accommodate all [requested augment] so we need to know what are the most needed,” he said.
CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon said that among the necessary expenses the commission needs to fund is those related to work-related transportation, including when personnel are tapped to investigate an incident in different areas in the Philippines.
Also present during the budget deliberations was Senator Ronald dela Rosa who pointed out the lack of manpower in regional offices.
CHR’s budget proposal at the House of Representatives, meanwhile, is set to be deliberated at the plenary on September 18.
This year’s budget process for CHR so far is a departure from two years ago when it faced a challenging opposition when legislators from the Lower House initially approved a 2018 budget of only P1,000.
The country’s foremost human rights institute has been on the receiving end of tirades from President Rodrigo Duterte himself, particularly over its criticism of killings under the violent war on drugs. (READ: The Impunity Series)
Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.