World

Manila votes to cut rights group budget to $26

MANILA Philippine lawmakers have voted to slash funding for its human rights commission to $26 in response to the commission's probes into President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly drug war, the authorities said yesterday.

The House of Representatives' action is the latest in what critics have said is a campaign by Mr Duterte and his allies to silence opposition to the drug crackdown, which has claimed thousands of lives and led rights groups to warn of crimes against humanity.

The House cut the Commission on Human Rights allotment to 1,000 pesos (S$26) in the 3.8 trillion peso national Budget Bill that it passed late on Tuesday.

The leader of the main opposition group, Senator Francis Pangilinan of the Liberal Party, said in a statement: "This leads us on a direct path to dictatorship."

The commission is one of the independent government bodies set up by the Constitution to check the power of the executive department.

The Bill has to be passed separately by the Senate, and Mr Pangilinan has vowed to block the House version, saying: "We will not allow this to pass in the Senate even if this means the 2018 Budget will not be passed." - AFP

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