Human rights should not be sacrificed for higher education: CHR

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2017 05:34 PM

MANILA - A Commission on Human Rights (CHR) commissioner believes the idea of realigning their slashed budget to subsidize tuition in state schools is just meant to confuse the public.

CHR Commissioner Roberto Cadiz said human rights and higher education should both be priorities of the government, and one should not be sacrificed at the expense of the other. 

"That kind of statement is meant to confuse the people and sell this false narrative to justify the obviously unjustifiable move to eradicate a Constitutional commission," he told reporters Thursday.

He warned that buying such an idea may also justify the abolition of other government agencies and Constitutional commissions.

Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles earlier said lawmakers may realign the budgets originally meant for the CHR, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), and and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to subsidize tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

"Naghahanap kami ng pondo para sa implementasyon ng free higher education law," said Norgales, chair of the appropriations committee, referring to a law just recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The proposed budget for the three government agencies have been cut to P1,000 each, with some congressmen accusing them of failing to to fulfill their respective mandates.

The agencies had the following original allocations: P623.38 million for the CHR; P365 million for the ERC; and P1.132 billion for the NCIP.

The government needs P20 billion to implement the free tuition law next year and cover some 1 million students in state-run colleges and universities, based on estimates of the Commission on Higher Education.