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Let us support the CHR!

Human rights are precious and valuable and should be defended at all costs.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution mandated the CHR "to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by state actors such as the military or police." The Philippine government, including Congress, has recognized and honored our country's global commitment as a signatory to the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Right."

Not anymore, though. By viva voce first, then when Atienza cautioned the triumphant "not to commit the mistake of railroading the measure," they cowardly made a headcount, not allowing themselves to be identified among the infamous 119 who mockingly approved a measly P1 thousand peso budget for the CHR. Then they posed, smiled, and showed their fists - reminiscent of those who saluted and followed the infamous dictator Hitler.

There were 32, however, who opposed. Whoever they may all be, they deserve our grateful salute.

How many in the Senate will go the way of the fawning 119 or the way of the brave 32?

Is it true that those in Congress have decided so far on the 2018 budget as follows: for human rights (P1000), for Tokhang (P900,000,000) and for PCOO (Presidential Communications Operations Office- including offices that have spurned out fake, false news- P1,351,000,000).

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The budget is our public money, not the property of Congress or any one elected official and should be used effectively for the welfare and protection of our people. The Filipino people, not a few elect, should decide how the public funds should be spent and for whom.

Will you allow the despicable action of the 119 to be the norm in Congress from now on? Will you be among those who applaud and approve their budget allocation and use? Will you be among the silent? Or will you be among those who have protested and will continue to oppose any unreasonable, abusive act of public officials?

The protests have continued to pour in. Here are some: "with 1k budget a year, CHR will now be known as the Ommission of Human rights. And a new ommisioner will be appointed by your president" and "Hindi lang ito simpleng pambabastos but pwersahang pagpapasunod para di na makikialam ang CHR sa lantarang pagyurak sa karapatang pantao. Ito din ang pagpapatuloy sa pagsiil sa mga kumukontra sa kamay na bakal at diktadurya. No to dictatorship!"

What else can we do, those of us who want to protect our public funds, those of us who want to protect the rights of our people?

As early as now, let us all stand up, protest, but better yet, already act and be counted among those who are against abusive governance that irresponsibly misuse public funds and public office for private interests.

However the Senate votes, whether it follows the way of the 119 or take the independent honorable path of amply financing the CHR, shall we start a public campaign for donations for CHR? Can we, as a nation, raise funds for the CHR as our sign of support for their laudable, courageous stance vs human rights abuses?

Can we also revive the vigilance and public action vs PDAF abuses, check the lifestyles and budget use of all those in Congress and public offices to ensure a more responsible, effective governance, respectful and mindful of human rights?

Can we also maintain public vigilance and clamor for the identification of those who smuggle drugs into our country, so that not only the addicts but the big drug suppliers, manufacturers, smugglers, and distributors are duly punished as well?

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