THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday said there is a sharp increase in cases of human rights violations in the country and, although the number of incidents is not as big compared to that during the martial law period, it remains a cause of concern.
Its chairman, Jose Luis Martin Gas¬con, said the rise in cases of enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests and torture had been recorded by the commission.
“It is sad that cases of enforced disappearances, torture, summary killings and arbitrary arrest remain. These should not happen in a free and a democratic nation,” Gascon noted during a hearing on the proposed 2016 budget of the CHR.
This is the reason, he said, why the commission is asking for more support and funding in order for the agency to address the cases.
The CHR in its proposed 2016 budget is asking P428.526 million, which is higher than this year’s budget of P375.45 million.
It is also asking for an increase in its confidential funds from P1 million to five million pesos and a seven million pesos lump-sum fund under Personnel Services for contractuals and consultants for the Offices of the Chairman and the commissioners.
Gascon, in defending their proposed budget, cited the case of a juvenile in Central Luzon who was detained and was later found dead.
“This should not be the norm, so while the overall cases have dwindled, the fact that there are sharp increases in enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and torture is matter of concern,” Gascon added.
A 2013 report from CHR showed a decrease in the number of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture cases from 146 in 2012 to 138 in 2013.
The number of victims, however, increased by 12.6 percent in 2013 with 187, compared to 166 in 2012.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) was registered as the top perpetrator of the incidents, having been involved in six extra-judicial killing, two enforced disappearance and 60 torture cases.
The communist New People’s Army was also among the violators of human rights with 12 extra-judicial killings, four enforced disappearance and one torture.
Other perpetrators of human rights are Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Armed Forces of the Philippines, among others.
Gascon raised the need to step up CHR’s protection services because of threats being made on witnesses to human rights violations and CHR personnel.