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CamSur solon urges swift Senate action on government rightsizing

CAMARINES Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr. has called on senators to promptly address the counterpart measure to the House of Representatives’ bill on government rightsizing when the session resumes on January 22, 2024.

According to Villafuerte, the Philippines, with approximately 1.7 million workers dispersed across 187 government agencies and government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs), faces issues of overlapping functions and redundancy. Citing the 2022 data from the Civil Service Commission (CSC), he emphasized that the rightsizing initiative is crucial, given that Personnel Services consume nearly 30 percent of the national budget annually.

Villafuerte clarified that teachers, healthcare providers, soldiers, and other uniformed personnel in state agencies are exempted from the House-approved plan to right-size the bureaucracy.

The House Bill (HB) 7240, focused on national government rightsizing, successfully passed the third and final reading on Mar. 14, 2023. It encompasses all agencies of the executive branch, excluding certain positions in education, healthcare, and the military. The bill allows Congress, the Judiciary, constitutional commissions, and the Office of the Ombudsman to right-size their offices within their authorized appropriations.

Should the bill become law, a Committee on Rightsizing the Executive Branch (CREB) will be established to oversee the implementation of the rightsizing program. The CREB, led by the executive secretary, includes representatives from the Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Civil Service Commission, and the Anti-Red Tape Authority.

The bill emphasizes transparency and participatory governance, requiring the CREB to consult with relevant agencies, accredited public sector unions, and stakeholders during the National Government Rightsizing Program’s implementation.

The CREB is tasked with conducting a strategic review and study on various aspects of agencies under the Executive Branch. Within 60 days of approval, the CREB must submit recommendations on the updated organizational structure and corresponding executive issuances.

Additionally, the bill grants the president the authority to implement organizational actions based on CREB’s determination of the state’s best interest. These actions include creating new agencies, regularizing ad hoc offices, merging or consolidating overlapping agencies, splitting multifunctional agencies, and abolishing agencies on specified grounds.

The bill specifies grounds for abolishing agencies, including redundancy, irrelevance, or better alignment with another entity. Importantly, the authority granted to the President under this Act, as well as the existence of CREB, will terminate three years after the Act’s effectivity.


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