CHR says delay in giving financial aid to rights victims has been addressed
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday gave assurance to state auditors that “corrective” measures are already being implemented to improve its processing of P2.63 million worth of financial aid to victims of human rights violations.
The CHR made this assurance after the Commission on Audit’s (COA) 2020 audit report showed that only 40 percent of beneficiaries of the agency’s Community and Rehabilitation Financial Assistance program have received support, and that only P1.83 million from the budget had been released to 117 claimants in areas of Ilocos, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Soccsksargen.
“CHR has already heeded COA’s observation and actions from relevant CHR offices have already been carried out,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement.
“We assure the public that corrective measures are already being implemented for situations within our control, including our investigators doing their level best in securing the permanent contact details of the victims and, if possible, asking in advance the documentary requirements necessary in the processing of the said financial assistance,” she added.
De Guia explained that the delay in processing due to insufficient contact information, as cited by COA, is currently being addressed by the commission.
“It is also important to give better context to this COA observation so as to address malicious assertions regarding the delay in the release of financial assistance,” she said.
She clarified that recommendations for the grant of financial aid in motu propio investigations (cases carried out by the commission’s own initiative) may lack information as victims change information and whereabouts without the commission’s knowledge for their own safety.
De Guia also pointed out that restrictions imposed for the COVID-19 pandemic hinder other beneficiaries from providing needed documents from complainants to justify the validity of the release of the said public funds.
CHR assured that processes and fund programming have been refined, as also advised by COA, to increase the number of beneficiaries in order to fully attain the purpose of the grants and ensure that government humanitarian services are timely received by beneficiaries.
“We stress that the fund for the unreleased financial assistance is also intact and just waiting to be released once requirements have been met,” De Guia said.
CHR grants financial assistance to rights victims who file cases at the agency.
The assistance includes survivorship benefits, rehabilitation assistance, aid under Republic Act No. 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women, benefits for children in conflict with the law, aid for internally displaced persons as victims of counterinsurgency, and aid for human rights violations against marginalized and vulnerable sectors. — Faith Yuen Wei Ragasa, Inquirer trainee
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