ANOTHER agency was given P1,000 budget allegedly for not fulfilling its mandate.
At yesterday’s budget deliberation in the House of Representatives, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was given a P1,000 budget. The proposed budget of NCIP for 2018 is P1.13 billion.
It was Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate who moved to reduce the agency’s budget calling it useless and accusing it of facilitating the violation of the rights of the national minorities.
No one objected to the proposal of Zarate.
According to Zarate the NCIP failed to protect the indigenous people from extrajudicial killings.
“We had insisted on the reduction of the budget of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in response to the national minorities’ stand that instead of protecting the rights of the indigenous peoples, the NCIP had been instrumental in the massive loss of ancestral lands to large-scale mining, energy projects,” Zararte said.
The solon also accused the agency of being blind, deaf, and mute as hundreds of indigenous peoples have been killed since it was established in 1998.
Just recently, a 19-year-old Lumad was shot dead by two members of a paramilitary unit in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
The victim identified as Obillo Bay-ao, was the 47th Lumad to be killed in the Davao region under the Duterte administration.
CHR will not stop performing its mandate despite the threat of Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez to give the commission a P1,000 budget for next year.
CHR chairman Chito Gascon said some people have expressed willingness to provide voluntary work and financial assistance so the CHR can continue doing its duties and responsibilities.
“Well, we’re a constitutional office, ibig sabihin dapat pa rin kaming magtrabaho,” said Gascon in an ambush interview as the House of Representatives was scheduled Tuesday night to approve the 2018 P3.767 trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on second reading.
“Mahirap magtrabaho na walang budget pero nakakatuwa na may mga tao na nagsasabi na kapag zero (budget) nga kami eh magbo-volunteer sila, may mga tao na kapag na-zero [budget] kami ay magko-contribute sila pero tungkulin ng estado na pondohan ang CHR. May mga nagpapahayag ng ganun,” said Gascon as he refused to provide other details.
The CHR is requesting P678 million for 2018 which is lower than the P749 million budget this year.
Gascon underscored the importance for the CHR to protect human rights in light of the bloody war on drugs of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Siquijor Rep. Vicente Antonio Rocamora said: “I believe that the Commission on Human Rights has a constitutional mandate to safeguard our citizens from abuse.”