March 22, 2018, 8:14 am
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House restores budget for ‘1,000-peso club’

THE House appropriations committee has been given the green light to endorse the restoration of the budget of the Commission on Human Rights, the Energy Regulatory Commission, and the National Commission on Indigenous People after the heads of the three offices appealed to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, according to panel chair Rep. Karlo Nograles.

He said CHR Chair Jose Luis “Chito” Gascon, ERC Commissioner Geronimo Sta. Ana, and NCIP Chair Leonor Oralde-Quintayo sought the help of majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Nograles to act as bridge between them and Alvarez.

The budgets of the thee agencies could still be restored as the House has yet to approve these on third and final reading. 

Congressmen are still in the period of individual amendments.

Nograles said that during the meeting, Gascon agreed that the CHR should extend its investigations beyond human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by state agents, to also include other groups which policemen, soldiers, and civilians.

“The Speaker basically told Chairman Gascon that we are not the enemy. The Duterte government is not the enemy. We are one with the CHR in the fight against all forms of human rights violation but they must start looking also at the violations committed by criminals and insurgents,” Nograles said.

As for the ERC and the NCIP, Nograles said Alvarez and Fariñas secured their assurance that they would start taking all steps to fight graft and corruption and to carry out the full mandate of their offices. 

“The dialogue was very frank but cordial. In the end, the Speaker was magnanimous in his decision and gave the green light to restoring their budget,” Nograles said.

With this development, Nograles said the restoration of the budget for the CHR, the ERC and the NCIP would already be incorporated in the final version of the General Appropriations Bill for third reading approval by the House of Representatives in plenary.
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