House restores proposed budgets for CHR, ERC, NCIP
After the public uproar over its decision to give the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) a measly P1,000 budget for 2018, the House of Representatives has decided to restore the original proposed allocations for the human rights body and two other agencies for next year.
House appropriations committee chair, Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, on Wednesday said his panel had been given the green light by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to endorse the restoration of the budgets of the CHR, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
The decision was reached after the heads of the three offices appealed to Alvarez, who had insisted on giving only P1,000 to each of the three agencies for what he believed was their poor performance.
CHR Chair Jose Luis Martin Gascon, ERC Commissioner Geronimo Sta. Ana and NCIP Chair Leonor Oralde-Quintayo sought the help of House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Nograles to act as their bridge to the Speaker.
During the meeting with the Speaker, Gascon agreed that the CHR would investigate alleged human rights violations not only by state agents but also by other groups that victimize members of the police, the military and even civilians, Nograles said.
“The Speaker basically told Chairman Gascon that we are not the enemy. The Duterte government is not the enemy. We are one with the CHR in the fight against all forms of human rights violation but they must start looking also at the violations committed by criminals and insurgents,” Nograles said.
As for the ERC and the NCIP, Nograles said Alvarez and Fariñas secured their assurances that they would start taking all steps necessary to fight graft and corruption and to carry out the full mandate of their offices.
“The dialogue was very frank but cordial. In the end, the Speaker was magnanimous in his decision and gave the green light to restoring their budget,” Nograles said.
Nograles said the restored budgets for the CHR, the ERC and the NCIP would be incorporated in the final version of the general appropriations bill for third-reading approval by the House.