Senate approves 2018 budgets for CHR, DPWH

Abner Mercado, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 10 2017 12:00 AM

The Senate approved Monday the P693-million budget of the Commission on Human Rights for fiscal year 2018.

The Senate's version of the CHR approved budget, which is higher by P156 million, includes the P28.5-million allocation for the Human Rights Violations Victim’s Memorial Commission.

Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, who earlier vowed to restore the agency's funding, sponsored the bill in the upper House. 

Last Sept. 12, the agency's 2018 appropriation was slashed by the House of Representatives to a mere P1,000 amid its criticisms of President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs. 

Lawmakers from the lower House later decided to the give rights body a budget of P537 million following a meeting with CHR head Chito Gascon during the third and final reading of the proposed P3.8 million 2018 budget.

During Monday's deliberations, P9 million allocated to the victims of 2013 Zamboanga siege after it was raised by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

Meanwhile, the Senate also approved the P626-billion budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The deliberation was led by Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance.

The funding will be used to help rebuild war-torn Marawi City by creating infrastructure projects, which include the Lake Lanao Circumferential Road, that would help speed up economic development in the area.