CHR, ERC, NCIP budgets to go to free higher education
The House of Representatives will realign the budgetsof the Commission on Human Rights, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and the Energy Regulatory Commission to fund free higher education.
“The budget will form part of the pool of funds to finance the free higher education law,” appropriations committee chair Rep. Karlo Nograles said in a text message.
This was after Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in a Thursday radio interview vowed to insist on the effective defunding of the agencies when the House and the Senate go on a bicameral conference to reconcile their versions of the 2018 General Appropriations Act.
“I respect the Senate, but it doesn’t mean it will get its way with whatever it wants,” he said. “We can’t always yield to whatever they want.”
The Department of Budget and Management originally proposed budgets of P350.95 million for the ERC, P1.13 billion for the NCIP, and P649.48 million for the CHR, of a total of P2.13 billion.
Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin of the opposition Magnificent Seven bloc criticized the attempt to “soften the criticism” of the House’s 119–32 vote to defund CHR.
“Nice try Karlo, but it ain’t cute. You can’t cut thebudgetofa constitutional body then to soften criticism (and) bestow it to a supposed loftier cause like free tuition,” Villarin said. “Educating people on the value of human rights should start with our legislators.”
Gabriela Women’s Party Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas said in a statement that “ensuring funds for the youth’s right to education should not be at the expense of the institution that is mandated to uphold and promote the most basic of human rights, including the right to life.”
CHR chief Jose Luis Gascon.