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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Bill rightsizing government bureaucracy clears House on 2nd reading

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TO improve public service delivery, the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a Marcos administration’s priority measure implementing a rightsizing program in the national government.

Through viva voce voting, lawmakers approved on second reading House Bill 7240 or the proposed National Government Rightsizing Act.

The bill is expected to be approved on third and final reading next week.

The bill grants authority to the President of the Philippine to rightsize the executive branch in order to eliminate redundant, duplicate and overlapping functions.

It also provides for optional adoption of the rightsizing program by the legislature, judiciary, constitutional commissions, Office of the Ombudsman and local government units.

The bill grants retirement benefits and separation incentives for personnel who may be affected by the program.

It also provides a three-year timeline to implement the rightsizing program.  The bill seeks to create the Committee on Rightsizing the Executive Branch (CREB) to the best interest of the State to reorganize, merge, streamline or abolish agencies and officers.

Under the bill, the committee shall be composed of the executive secretary as chairperson, and the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management as cochairperson, with the secretary for Socio-Economic Planning, chairperson of the Civil Service Commission and the director general of the Anti-Red Tape Authority as members.

The bill also mandates the committee to conduct a strategic review and study on the role, mandates, functions, programs, projects, operations, structure and manpower complement of the different agencies under the Executive Branch.

The CREB shall submit to the President the rightsized organization structure of agencies concerned and the corresponding executive issuances with due consideration of the results and finding of strategic review and study that will be conducted, within 60 days from approval by the committee of the results of the strategic review and study.

The bill grants the President a power to create new agencies, officers, positions as needed in order to strengthen the capacity of government agencies to perform their mandate; regularize ad hoc offices whose function are vital and significant, thus must be continually undertaken by the government; merge and consolidate agencies whose functions are unnecessarily overlapping or duplicating and could be undertaken by a single entity, or clients are similar or related, to rationalize the use of government resources and split agencies with multifarious functions which are deemed distinct but equally important aspect of governance.

Within the year

Earlier, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman expressed confidence that a law to rightsize the government would be passed within the year.

“If the rightsizing [law] will be passed within the year, then we can start it already,” Pangandaman added.

Pangandaman noted that the rightsizing law is among the administration’s priority measures and part of the common legislative agenda (CLA) of the executive and legislative branches of government.

The DBM earlier disclosed that the rightsizing of the bureaucracy would result in P14.8 billion in savings at the expense of an estimated 2 million government employees who have been determined to have redundant or overlapping functions.

Image credits: House of Representatives/Facebook

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