There’s sufficient time to reverse CHR budget cut: Lagman

MANILA — An opposition lawmaker on Tuesday said there is still “sufficient time” for the House of Representatives to restore the proposed 2018 budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

In a press conference, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said amendments can still be made before House Bill No. 6215 or the 2018 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is submitted for third reading.

“Making amends is never too late,” Lagman said.

With a 119-32 vote, the lower chamber reduced last week the funding plan for the CHR to a measly PHP1,000.

Lagman explained that a small committee was created with “plenary power” to effect amendments to the GAB before its final version is voted upon on third reading.

The committee is composed of the following House members: Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, House Appropriations Committee chair Karlo Nograles, Compostela Valley Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora, Malabon City Rep. Frederico Sandoval III, PBA Partylist Rep. Mark Sambar, Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua, and Minority Leader Danilo Suarez.

“The small committee receives, collates and approves, once warranted, the various proposed amendments from the Members of the House. It can also introduce amendments on its own like reinstating the reduced budget of agencies,” Lagman said.

Lagman said he will be proposing through the small committee to restore the original amount of PHP623.3-million for CHR’s budget.

If such amendment is rejected in the House’s final version of the GAB, the bicameral conference committee will be another platform to reconcile the differing provisions for the CHR.

Several senators, including Senate President Koko Pimentel, said they would fight for the restoration of the agency’s capital outlay for next year.