CHR final budget depends on bicam — DBM

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) can still fight for a higher budget with the support of the Senate, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said yesterday.

In an interview, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the CHR can still seek the support of the Senate after the House of Representatives slashed its 2018 budget to P1,000 from the original proposal of P678 million.

“The budget process is like this: the House approves the budget as we submit it and then it goes to the Senate, and if there are disagreeing positions, a conference committee will be formed. We call that the third chamber and it will come up with the final outcome,” Diokno said.

As such, the budget chief said it would be up to the CHR to convince the senators to give them a bigger budget next year.

“They have to convince the senators that they are worth financing,” he said.

Last Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved a P1,000 2018 budget for the CHR, with 119 lawmakers in favor and only 32 in opposition.

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“What I think is that the Congress is just sending a strong message to them, you should use your money well,” Diokno said.

Diokno said he would leave it up to the Senate and the third chamber to resolve the issue on the CHR’s budget as it involves a political process.

The budget chief also noted that under the Constitution, the government is allowed to augment the budget of an agency under the executive department as long as it is not given a zero budget.

“Under the Constitution, the President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House and the members of the congressional commissions can augment items within their budget. So a department or a bureau under the executive department, we can augment their budget,” Diokno said.