House restores CHR, 2 other agencies' original budgets

THE House leadership decided on Wednesday, September 20, to restore the original 2018 budget allocations for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

It could be recalled that the House of Representatives voted to give the three agencies P1,000 budget for their alleged "failures" to do their mandate.

In a statement, House appropriations panel chairman Karlo Nograles said the decision to restore the budget for the three agencies came after its heads pleaded to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez with his and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas' help.

According to Nograles, CHR Chair Chito Gascon heeded to Alvarez's suggestion that the agency investigate other human rights abuses as well, and not focus only on the government's alleged violent war on drugs.

“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.

“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 added.

CHR has been criticizing the Duterte administration for allegedly inciting violence, as proven by the increase in number of persons killed by police over drug links.

Meanwhile. ERC has been accused of corruption following the suicide of one of its commissioners.

NCIP was also under fire for allegedly failing to protect the Lumads in Mindanao.

The three agencies have the following budget proposals:

CHR: P649.484 milliom

NCIP: P1.188-billion

ERC: P365 million

The restored budget will be reflected during the third reading of the proposed P3.767 trillion national budget for 2018. (SunStar Philippines)
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