By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Commission on Human Rights (CHR) head Romeo Baldevarona said the recent approval of a P1,000 budget for the agency by the House of Representatives was the result of a frustrated national government.
“They are getting frustrated with us because we are always checking their work,” he stated.
With recent reports suggesting members of the Philippine Senate would put up a fight to restore the original CHR budget, Baldevarona expressed his optimism.
“We trust the senate,” he said.
The local CHR head said it is his agency’s job to ensure international treaties are being followed, explaining they have nine treaty obligations on human rights.
He noted, the commission is also obliged to ensure the ongoing war on illegal drugs is carried out in compliance to the law.
The local CHR is currently handling 15 suspected cases of extrajudicial killings from across the province, including Bacolod City.
Baldevarona said he hopes the Senate will restore the original amount requested, which, according to the Senate finance committee, came to around P649 million. An additional P28.5 million was also requested for the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission.
Meanwhile, one of the legislators to vote against the budget was Negros Oriental first district Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong, who called the matter “very oppressive.”
In a statement yesterday morning, she stated the media has “exposed abuses in the war on illegal drugs” and stressed the importance of checks and balances.
Earlier this week, during their regular session, the House of Representatives approved the P1,000 budget for CHR, with 119 in favor and 32 against.
Aside from the CHR, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) were also allotted P1,000 in the 2018 national budget./WDJ