House restores budget for CHR, ERC, NCIP

The House of Representatives will restore the proposed 2018 budgets of these three agencies

The House of Representatives has decided to restore the proposed 2018 budgets of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Energy Regulatory Commission, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

The three agencies were given an appropriation of P1,000 each for 2018 by the House during last week’s plenary deliberations on the proposed P3.767-trillion national budget or the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for next year. The House initially reduced the budget of the three agencies to just P1,000 each as lawmakers expressed their displeasure over the offices' performance.

But Rep. Karlo Nograles, House Appropriations Committee chair 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.

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.

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 restoration of the budget for the three agencies would be reflected in the final version of the GAB for third reading approval.