CHR to pursue Human Rights Institute despite veto
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday said it would pursue its planned Human Rights Institute (HRI), whose provision in the P5.024-trillion national budget law was vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a statement, Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said they were “saddened” by the direct veto of the HRI item in the 2022 general appropriations act for lack of specific appropriation.
“While the President’s veto is disheartening, we view this as an opportunity to press on,” she said. “We shall continue to pound the walls of impunity to convey the message of human rights straight and across to our people.”
A flagship program and a major legacy by the late CHR chair Chito Gascon, the HRI, which was launched last year during the International Human Rights Day on Dec. 9, was envisioned to help educate Filipinos about human rights issues and help address modern-day challenges like impunity, climate change and inequality.
The HRI will offer online general, special and professional, and executive courses for anybody wishing to learn more about human rights. These will be taught in partnership with several institutions like the De La Salle University Manila.
Several studies and critics have long pointed out Filipinos’ poor understanding and appreciation for human rights, which worsened in part by Mr. Duterte’s violent rhetoric against human rights workers and defenders.
In opening human rights courses, the CHR hopes to help Filipinos “explore ways to quell human rights violations,” Dumpit said.
In his veto message, Mr. Duterte said the creation of HRI “should be subject to a comprehensive review of the mandate, mission, objectives and functions, systems and procedures, and programs, activities and projects ….”
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