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    Friday, September 15, 2017

    1k Budget for CHR, NCIP, ERC: A pure political optics?

    In line to the recent approval of the House of Representatives to grant the Commission on Human Rights CHR, Energy Regulatory Commission, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, a P1, 000 budget appropriation for 2018, some notable critics including the concerned members of the Filipino citizenry commented on the issue.

    One of them is De la Salle University Professor and political specialist, Antonio P. Contreras. In his recently published Facebook post, Contreras pointed out that the said budget appropriation unanimously voted for by the Congress is nothing but pure “political optics”.

    “THIS 1K BUDGET IS ALL POLITICAL OPTICS..So you think just because CHR, NCIP and ERC were given only 1k for their 2018 budget that the world will end for them? Not so.” Contreras initially asserted.

    Answering his own speculation, Contreras claimed that a P1, 000 budget does not mean the “end of the world” for the three above-mentioned agencies. Supporting his claim, Contreras laid out four probabilities which, could legally and rightfully sustain the operations of the CHR, NCIP, and ERC. Moreover, Contreras mentioned that the Senate is still bound to vote on the  approved budget appropriation of the Congress thus implying that the budget is not yet final given that it is still subject for review and approval by the Senate.

    “In fact, even assuming that the Senate will agree, the following will still happen.

    1. Personal services that are covered by civil service laws covering salaries of permanent employees will still be paid. However, salaries of employees on job contracts may no longer be paid.

    2. Rental of facilities will still be paid as these are considered governed by contracts. Utilities will also be paid.

    3. Operating expenses for multi-year projects that have been approved and whose budget has already been obligated will still be funded.

    4. MOOE items that will be obligated from savings for 2017 may still be released to be spent for 2018, provided that they follow DBM guidelines.

    Only new procurements, as well as travel not related to items 3 and 4 above will not be funded.” Contreras ended his explanation.

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