Nograles says CHR won’t get full budget back
It’s no longer P1,000 but the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will not be getting its entire budget back in the House of Representatives’ version of the 2018 General Appropriations Act.
Only P508 million of the P623.38 million in new appropriations originally proposed for the commission will be restored, appropriations committee chair Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said in a Thursday briefing.
This meant the CHR will sustain a 30-percent decrease in new appropriations, compared to the 14-percent budget cut originally proposed by the Department of Budget and Management.
New appropriations for the current fiscal year amounted to P724.87 million.
Nograles explained “there were certain cuts that we had to make” in the maintenance and other operating expenses of the CHR, such as traveling expenses.
During the briefing, he insisted that CHR should also expand its coverage of human-rights protection beyond atrocities committed by authorities in the government’s anti-drug campaign.
“I think basically what’s happening is we’re restoring it to this much, we won’t give everything but prove your sincerity also, your word. You have to show to us that you really fulfill what you’ve committed,” Nograles said.
“Maybe in the next year’s budget, we can talk about raising the budget of CHR,” he added.
In an interview, CHR Chairman Chito Gascon expressed openness to the call of lawmakers to look into human-rights violations by non-state actors like terrorists and rebels.
But, he stressed that the CHR could only do so much on a tight budget, which was dwarfed by the P900-million funding for the police’s Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded.
“If the expectation of congress is we’ll be able to do what they want us to do with a mere restoration [of the budget]… it will be very difficult,” Gascon said.
“What they want us to do is essentially for the Commission to do police functions, but we don’t have the same type of budget that the police is currently enjoying,” he added.
Besides the new appropriations, CHR would also receive an additional P26.1 million in automatic appropriations for employees’ retirement and insurance life premiums. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.