CHR claims budget dept nearly halved its funding request

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2016 07:09 PM | Updated as of Aug 25 2016 08:27 PM

MANILA - The budget department rejected more than P300 million in additional budget the Commission on Human Rights requested for next year as the constitutional body braced for more complaints over the government's brutal campaign against illegal drugs.

The CHR is left with a proposed budget of at least P471.6 million, which is about 40 percent lower than the P780-million budget request it had submitted, said Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit.

"Certainly, we think human rights is an important matter that should deserve more attention and priority," CHR chairman Chito Gascon told ABS-CBN News.

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly attacked the CHR and human rights groups for sounding the alarm on the rising number of drug-related killings under his watch.

Nearly 2,000 people have been killed in less than two months since he took office, according to the Philippine National Police.

Dumpit said the commission was investigating the deaths of at least 234 people. 

About half of the cases involved those killed in police operations, while the rest were the handiwork of supposed vigilantes, the commissioner said.

"What is alarming is the magnitude and widespread character of these killings," Gascon said. 

"What is unprecedented about this is the sheer number over a very short period of time.