Message has been sent, and hopefully that is enough.
The House of Representatives has restored the budget of the Commission on Human Rights, Energy Regulatory Commission, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) – all three were given an appropriation of only P1,000 for the year 2018.
Rep. Karlo Nograles, House Appropriations Committee chair, in a statement Wednesday, said this development unfolded after CHR Chair Jose Luis "Chito" Gascon, ERC Commissioner Geronimo Sta. Ana and NCIP Chair Leonor Oralde-Quintayo sought the help of House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas to "act as bridge" between them and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. *
|The House of Representatives has restored the budgets of the CHR, ERC and the NCIP (photo credit to CNN Phils)|
"House Appropriations Committee Chair and Davao City Congressman Karlo Nogr ales today said his panel has been given the green light to endorse the restoration of the budget [of the three agencies]," Nograles said.
Nograles said Gascon has agreed to extend their investigations beyond human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by state agents to also include other groups who victimize members of the police, the military, and even civilians.
"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.
"CHR affirms its commitment to advance all human rights for all people," Gascon said as he thanked and expressed gratefulness to those who supported the agency both inside and outside the halls of Congress.
He also thanked the leadership of the House for its "open mind and open heart" in accepting the arguments of "reason and necessity" to continue funding the CHR.
A few weeks ago, the House with a vote of 119-32 reduced the budget of the CHR to P1,000 for the year 2018. CHr has been one of the fiercest critic of the Duterte administration in its brutal war on drugs, The House Speaker even made a statement publicly that it seems CHR was only protecting the rights of the criminals and that it should seek its budget from the criminals. *
Meanwhile, the ERC and the NCIP gave their assurance to the House leaders that they would start taking all the necessary steps to fight graft and corruption and to fulfill the mandate of their respective 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.
The restoration of the budget for the three agencies would be reflected in the final version of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for third reading approval.
The House earlier reduced the budget of the three agencies to just PHP1,000 each as lawmakers expressed their displeasure over the offices' performance.
Report from PNA and Philstar