Government agencies told: Do inventory ahead of rightsizing program

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PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has ordered concerned government agencies to conduct an inventory on government redundant positions and functions to be addressed by the proposed National Government Rightsizing Program (NGRP).

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said Marcos gave the instruction during his meeting with the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in Malacañang on Tuesday to discuss the developments on the bills for the implementation of the NGRP.

“The President made an assurance during the meeting on Tuesday that government rightsizing is not aimed at terminating employees but to serve as a tool to upskill and reskill the current government workforce to improve state services and programs,” PCO Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said in a statement.

Legislative status

The House of Representatives (HOR) on March 14, 2023 passed House Bill (HB) No. 7240 or the National Government Rightsizing Act, which authorizes the President to right-size the operations of agencies in the executive branch.

Under the bill, a Committee on Rightsizing the Executive Branch (CREB) will be created to “undertake other functional or organizational actions, developing and providing safety nets, and formulating an organizational development program,” for the NGRP.

The bill excludes the following from the NGRP: teaching and teaching-related positions in schools; medical and allied-medical items in hospitals and other medical facilities; military and uniformed personnel, and government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions covered by the Governance Commission for GOCCs; the legislature, judiciary, Office of the Ombudsman, constitutional commissions, and local government units (LGUs).

The counterpart legislation of HB 7240 from the Senate is still pending at the Committee level.

Stakeholder reaction

When asked if the Civil Service Commission (CSC) will initiate an assessment on redundant positions in the government, CSC Commissioner Aileen A. Lizada said they are waiting for the passage of a law to set the criteria for the NGRP through the CREB.

“The law should be approved first before the CREB can be created. CSC is proposed to be a member of the CREB,” Lizada said in a Viber message.

Labor groups earlier expressed concern on the composition of the CREB under HB 7240 since it does not include worker representation.

It noted this could lead to an NGRP riddled with problems such as “emaciation of rank-and-file workers, a bloated top, institutionalization of contractualization schemes, and the privatization of public services.”