Gascon to seek restoring P170m cut in CHR budget in Senate budget bill
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Chito Gascon said Friday the 170 million peso slash in their budget next year will greatly affect the commission.
“It will, it will, especially that as I said 50 percent ( is) in human rights protection. That’s why we will pursue it in Senate”, said Gascon in an interview after he spoke at a human rights forum in Ateneo Friday night.
House Committee on Appropriation head Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said on September 21 the P678 million requested budget of the CHR was cut to P508 million.
“The 678 million ( peso) proposed by the government of president (Rodrigo) Duterte is slashed to 508 million. They removed 178 million and what was worst is that when you look at the details, they cut our protection services by 50 percent”, Gascon said in his speech during the Human Rights in the Philippines: Prospects and challenges forum.
He said they have talked to Congress to amend the functions of the CHR.
“We have actually tabled with Congress in enabling this legislation, a charter to amend our functions so that we can do”, Gascon said.
He said House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez told the commission to not only investigate the cases involving policemen but investigate policemen who were victims of crimes.
“Honorable Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said you are not doing your job because it is stated in the law protect all human rights of all people. So why is it you are only investigating police officers, what about the victims of crime?”, Gascon said.
Gascon said he agrees with the statement of Alvarez but he said the obligation of the commission is to ensure the state is doing its job to protect the rights of the people.
“ I will not disagree a victim of a crime is also a victim of human rights… it’s just that the obligation is not the obligation of the CHR it is the obligation of the state to protect”, he said.
“When there is a victim of crime, CHR is still interested but we are interested in ensuring that the state is doing its job in protecting ( people)”, he added.
Gascon said he is still thankful for the P508 million budget after the House of Representative voted for P1,000 budget of the commission.
“I am thankful to them. They have open hearts and open mind. They heard the clamor of the people”, he said. Alanna Ambi/DMS