20 February 2018

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09/13/2017 PHILIPPINES

Duterte reduces funding for the Human Rights Commission to around US$ 20 for 2018

The Commission has repeatedly criticised the government for extrajudicial killings. Outraged Filipinos take to the Internet. Duterte also plans to cut next year’s spending on drug rehabilitation centres by 75 per cent. The Church is involved in helping and rehabilitating addicts.

Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – By a vote of 119 to 32, the House of Representatives today approved next year’s budget for the constitutionally mandated Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

The CHR had faced a 10 per cent cut to its budget of P649.48 million (US$ 12.7 million). In 2018, its allocated budget will be a thousand Filipino pesos (US$ 19,60).

CHR Chair Jose Luis Martin Gascon said the CHR, which was established under the 1987 constitution, was saddened by the House’s “whimsical and capricious display of vindictiveness”.

The CHR has often strongly criticised the Duterte administration for the thousands of extrajudicial killings in its war on drugs.

Over the past month, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had threatened to scuttle the CHR’s budget and render it ineffective.

Following today’s vote, many Filipinos immediately took to the Internet to express their anger. Many demanded to know which lawmakers voted for the budget, given that no list of votes was released to the public.

Various human rights groups, including the Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International, have joined the protest.

Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, slammed the decision, calling it “Reprehensible and unconscionable”.

For its part, the Duterte administration also plans a 75 per cent cut in spending next year on drug rehabilitation centres.

Since the start of his war on drugs, the Catholic Church has been a critical and authoritative voice in the matter through its many relief and rehab activities to help families affected by the government’s violent crackdown, which has thus far led to 12,000 extrajudicial killings.

Card Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, has repeatedly urged Catholics to reflect, pray, and act. He has also called on priests and lay people to renew their commitment to the Manila Archdiocese Rehabilitation programme, called ‘Sanlakbay’.

Working with local government and law enforcement, the programme is centred on parish communities. It seeks to encourage drug addicts to stop, accept rehabilitation and give themselves another chance to start a new life.

See also

02/05/2015 PHILIPPINES
With Rome Synod on their minds, Filipino Catholics discuss marriage and family
The event, scheduled for July, will include speakers such as Cardinal Tagle and the President of the Episcopal Conference. Civilly married couples, separated families, homosexuals and falling birth rates the central themes of the discussion. The goal is to formulate programs of spiritual enrichment for spouses.

28/01/2016 21:19:00 PHILIPPINES – ASIA
Eucharistic Congress: Card Tagle calls for an end to the throwaway culture

In his address to the congress in Cebu on its fifth day, the Archbishop of Manila calls on politicians to stop throwing “away people’s taxes for your parties and shopping” and start using them “as gifts for social services”. The International Congress, which ends this Sunday, represents a new challenge, that of the Eucharist as a “third world war" against poverty.


Manila: Card Tagle tells reporters to stop dividing the Church in good and bad
Upon his return home from the Extraordinary Synod on the family, the archbishop of the Filipino capital discussed what was done. He also urged the media to stop generalising. "Conservatives, liberals, or traditionalists are wrong categories that prevent listening." In general, coverage was "dominated by the West." There should be more "Asian and African journalists".

07/10/2014 VATICAN
Synod to send a message to families in the Middle East, and a consistory to focus on their plight
Today's third general congregation discussed the need to "accompany" the lives of families with an formation that is not limited to preparation for marriage. The Church must not hand out judgments on the divorced and remarries, but the truth, with greater understanding towards them so they may follow the truth and follow the Church if it tells the truth. The "medicine" of mercy gives warmth, care and support.

25/09/2014 PHILIPPINES
Manila, Card. Tagle calls for more aid to victims of natural disasters
The archbishop of the capital appeals to citizens to support Church aid for the victims of the recent tropical storm. Caritas Manila and parishes mobilize relief services. Nearly 200 thousand people still accommodated in shelters. The Cardinal: "We must help our brothers."

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