Diokno ‘not worried’ over CHR budget row

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Next year’s P3.76-trillion national budget will still be passed despite a dispute between the Senate and the House of Representatives over funding for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Thursday.

“I am not worried what is going to happen. I will just look at what will come out of the third chamber,” Diokno told reporters at the sidelines of The Arangkada Philippines Forum 2017,

The Budget chief was referring the bilateral conference committee, which meets to reconcile differing versions of proposed laws passed by both chambers of Congress.

The House earlier this week overwhelmingly approved a budget of just P1,000 for the CHR, instead of the proposed P678 million, in response to the commission’s continued criticism of the government’s deadly war against illegal drugs.

Senators responded by vowing to restore the CHR budget, setting the stage for a clash with the House.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan has been quoted as saying that they would keep pushing for a proper CHR budget if it leads to the reenactment of the 2017 budget.

“[L]et’s not speculate on what’s gonna happen. This is a political process, we have done our job. We have submitted to them the budget so it]s up to them,” Diokno said.

The proposed P3.76 trillion national budget for 2018 is 12.4 percent higher than this year’s budget and amounts to 21.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The Department of Budget and Management has said that the outlay would support the government’s objectives of achieving robust and inclusive growth of 7 percent to 8 percent next year.

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