The Philippines places the value of human rights at $20

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The Chamber has chose to reduce the funds allocated to the Commission on Human rights to 1,000 pesos (16 euros), in the draft budget 2018 3.800 billion pesos that was voted on second reading Tuesday night.

The commission was last year awarded nearly (749 million pesos) $15 million for its annual budget, and had initially requested for a budget of 1.72 billion pesos ($34 million) this year.

Congress voted to slash that to just 1,000 pesos, a huge cut from the 2017 budget of 749 million. "It's that simple. Why should you get budget from the government and yet you are not doing your job?"

The value of human rights in the Philippines is now worth just $20, apparently.

The United Nations (UN) human rights chief criticized Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for his policy on killing suspects who resist arrest, as he noted the case of a 17-year-old student killed by the police. The budget requires another vote, then Senate approval before it becomes final.

"The President has categorically and repeatedly said that there is no shoot-to-kill order".

The CHR has long complained it lacks manpower and resources to fully investigate the killings, the majority of which activists say are of users and small-time peddlers, with few high-profile arrests.

Chito Gascon, who heads the CHR, said the vote was an attempt to force his resignation and he would take the issue to the supreme court if necessary.

Filipinos are largely supportive of Duterte's crackdown as a solution to tackling rampant crime stemming from drug addiction.

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"The principal reason why I can not resign my office is that to do so is to weaken the institution itself", Gascon said.

Delos Santos was killed by the Caloocan City police on August 16 because the teenager allegedly shot at the cops and prompted them to retaliate.

Human rights advocates hope senators will restore the agency's current budget.

On the issue on bombing indigenous schools, Abella said it would be better to focus on the Duterte administration's efforts for their education, claiming their program will receive P130.43 million to support nearly three million indigenous students.

Lawmakers may have misunderstood the agency's role, said one representative, Raul del March.

Despite its flaws, she added, Karapatan still sees "the recent attempts of the Duterte administration to de facto abolish the CHR as a risky step that undermines available mechanisms for redress for human rights violations in this so-called democratic form of government".

On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch said that Duterte had attempted to "vilify, harass and intimidate" those seeking investigation into drug war deaths and was running a "war on accountability".

Agnes Callamard, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, said Filipinos deserved a strong, independent rights organization that could hold the state accountable.

Additional reporting from Reuters.