Press Release
August 16, 2019

Sotto: Prioritize rightsizing bill over creation of new departments

The government, before considering the creation of department or offices, should first simplify the operations of agencies to ensure not only the delivery of services but the swift implementation of programs and projects, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on Tuesday said.

The Senate chief has re-filed a bill seeking to streamline the operations, systems and processes of government offices and determine the appropriate staffing based on skills and competencies required to effectively and efficiently carry out the agency mandate and functions.

Abolishing or reorganizing redundant government agencies could save the government more than P1 trillion in its yearly budget, Sotto said.

Sotto, in filing Senate Bill No. 244 or the proposed "Rightsizing the National Government Act," said the existing 186 departments, agencies and other offices has already bloated to some 1.5 million workers.

"These figures have tremendously increased over the years without properly managing its proper size in the workforce that led to duplications in functions and redundancy in the position," he said.

Sixty five percent of the national budget is appropriated for personnel services, while only 35 percent covers the expenses for government projects and services, Sotto added.

The concept of the measure, Sotto said, is in line with the battle cry of the Duterte administration to operate the national government with optimal cost and efficient human resources. Regardless of eventual changes in the organizational structure and staffing in the affected offices, the employees - whether hired on a permanent, temporary, casual or contractual basis - shall still be entitled to retirement benefits and separation incentives, Sotto said.

The primary purpose of the measure, Sotto emphasized, is to enhance the government's institutional capacity to improve public service delivery.

Those likely to be covered are not only national government agencies but also department offices, bureaus, commissions, board, councils and all other entities attached to or under their administrative supervision.

In the case of the legislative and judicial branches as well the constitutional offices, state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local government units (LGUS), the Senate chief said that they may, within their respective authorized appropriations, rightsize their offices consistent with the principles and guidelines provided in the bill.

The Governance Commission for Government-owned or -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), on the other hand, shall continue to exercise its authority under RA 10149, also known as the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, to recognize, merge, streamline, abolish or privatize any GOCC, in consultation with the department or agency to which the GOCC is attached.

Sotto said his bill proposes to give the President the authority to abolish, create and transfer offices within the national government, among others.

To oversee the implementation of the measure, a committee on rightsizing the national government shall be created, to be chaired by the Executive Secretary with the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as co-chair and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) director-general, chairperson of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the head of the Presidential Management Staff as members, the senator said.

A number of his colleagues have filed bills proposing new departments such as the Departments of Disaster Resilience, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Water Resources Management, Public Safety, Homeland Security, Migration and Development and Sports.

President Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered last July 22, renewed his call on Congress on the passage of the government rightsizing bill and pave for the reconfiguration of the existing Metro Manila-centric bureaucracy in order to deliver services without delay and within a short period of time.

In the said speech, the President pitched for the creation of the Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission, Department of Disaster Management and Department of OFWs during the 18th Congress.

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