Buzz, Commission Of Human Rights Philippines, Duterte, Philippines, Philippines Duterte, Philippines War On Drugs

The Philippines places the value of human rights at $20

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock/@phatfreemigeul/twitter/mashable composite

The value of human rights in the Philippines is now worth just $20, apparently.

Philippine legislators have voted to reduce the annual budget for the country’s Commission of Human Rights (CHR) to just 1,000 pesos ($20). 

The budget cut, essentially choking off the CHR, comes upon repeated clashes between the human rights body and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The commission has heavily criticised Duterte’s war on drugs, which has seen thousands killed without trial under his anti-drug crackdown.

“If you want to protect the rights of criminals, get your budget from the criminals.” — house speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

The CHR, which investigates the drug killings, has previously come under fire from Duterte himself, who threatened to abolish it.

During the budget vote, house speaker and Duterte ally Pantaleon Alvarez criticised the commission, saying it was “useless” and “not doing its job.”

“If you want to protect the rights of criminals, get your budget from the criminals,” he said. “Why should you get budget from the government?”

119 lawmakers voted in favour of the cut to the CHR, versus 32.

The commission was last year awarded almost (749 million pesos) $15 million for its annual budget, and had initially requested for a budget of 1.72 billion pesos ($34 million) this year.

Filipinos online could hardly believe the cut.

Others were flat out outraged.

The budget requires Senate approval before it becomes final — which opponents say is likely, because President Duterte has a majority in the two chambers.

War on drugs

According to Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, the decision is “part of the Duterte administration’s attempt to prevent independent institutions to check its abuses.”

More than 7,000 people have been killed since President Duterte launched his war on drugs last year, according to Human rights group Amnesty International.

The controversial campaign was aimed at wiping out the drug trade in the Philippines, but has resulted in a huge number of deaths.

Amnesty says that because of financial incentives offered to officers, some have planted evidence and falsified reports in order to justify the extrajudicial killings. eb03 42cf%2fthumb%2f00001

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