Better for CHR to pursue HRI separate from nat’l budget

Malacañang is supportive of the Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) decision to pursue its planned Human Rights Institute (HRI) whose provision in the PHP5.024 trillion national budget for 2022 was vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, made this statement after CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit announced plans to pursue the formation of the HRI despite Duterte’s veto.

“By all means, if they want to pursue legislation, then let them do so,” he said in a Palace press briefing.

Citing Duterte’s veto message, Nograles said the establishment of the HRI was vetoed as there was no funding appropriated for the office even if the CHR said it would use existing resources to support it.

“There was a reaction about bakit hindi siya naisama doon sa (why it wasn’t included in the) budget. May I state that the reason being is that as per (the Department of Budget and Management), inclusion of projects in the national budget assumes first (the) project readiness; secondly that (there are) complete estimates on costing, complete details on manpower and manning requirements, and then of course tinitignan din po ng DBM yung (the DBM will also check) budget utilization (of the) agency,” he said.

Nograles said “rider” provisions or insertions in the national budget were vetoed to curb any attempt to violate the Constitution.

“If pinapasok o ini-insert sa (but if this was inserted in the) budget, but if it is deemed a rider, then we do not want riders in the budget because the budget as with any law, pinagbabawalan po yung mga riders (riders are illegal). So, it’s much better if they pursue legislation separately from a national budget,” he added.

The CHR launched the HRI at its central office in Quezon City during the observance of International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, 2021.

In his veto message, Duterte said the HRI was vetoed “since no specific appropriation is provided for the purpose.”

“The creation of an institute, just like other offices, should be subject to a comprehensive review of the mandate, mission, objectives and functions, systems and procedures, and programs, activities and projects, as well as the corresponding structural, functional, and operational adjustments in an organization, including the necessary staffing and funding requirements,” his veto message read.

Meanwhile, Nograles pointed out that the CHR’s budget has “more than doubled” since the start of the Duterte administration.

“If you look at the records, from PHP439 million budget by the preceding administration in year 2016, the budget of the Commission on Human Rights has enjoyed annual increases since then and so much so that the CHR’s budget for 2021 was at PHP907 million. So, it’s been enjoying an increase in their budget annually since the start of the Duterte administration,” he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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