The Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (LAIKO), the umbrella organization of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for Catholic Lay Organizations strongly condemns the appropriation of ₱1,000.00 for the 2018 budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) by the Lower House.
The importance of the CHR is underscored by its mandate in the 1987 Philippine Constitution (Art. XIII) which includes, among others:
- investigating, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights, [Sec. 18(1)];
- providing appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and providing preventive measures and legal aid services to the under-privileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection [Sec. 18(3)];
- exercising visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities [Sec. 18(4)]; and
- monitoring the Philippine Government’s compliance with international treaty obligations on human rights [Sec. 18(7)].
These functions have been crafted with the highest of morals and ideals in mind. The CHR is meant to serve ALL FILIPINOS regardless of political color.
In this regard LAIKO deplores the act of the Lower House in allotting ₱1,000.00 for the 2018 budget of the CHR;
LAIKO implores the Philippine Senate and Congress to appropriate a budget for the CHR which will enable it to effectively pursue its functions and uphold the human rights of ALL FILIPINOS.
For the Board of Directors of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas,
ZENAIDA F. CAPISTRANO
+MOST REV. BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D.
LAIKO National Director
Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity
19 September 2017