A blow to human rights
The move by the House of Representatives to appropriate a mere P1,000 (about $20) to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for its 2018 budget would deal a blow against accountability for human rights violations in the Philippines.
The vote by an overwhelming majority of the House is part of the Duterte administration’s attempt to prevent independent institutions to check its abuses, particularly in the context of the brutal drug war that has claimed the lives of thousands, including dozens of children.
While the CHR’s performance as a constitutional body may not have been fully satisfactory to many Filipinos, its mandate is important in combatting human rights abuses. Instead of defunding it, Congress should increase its resources and ensure that it fulfills that mandate.
PHELIM KINE, deputy Asia director, Human Rights Watch
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