Senator Loren Legarda
Sponsorship Speech on the Proposed Rightsizing the National Government Act
Senate Bill No. 1395 under Committee Report No. 56
15 March 2017 | Senate Session Hall
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, good afternoon.
It is my honor as Chairperson of the Committee on Finance and the Sub-Committee on Senate Bill Nos. 1162 and 1167 to sponsor Senate Bill No. 1395 under Committee Report No. 56 or “An Act Rightsizing the National Government to Improve Public Service Delivery and for Other Purposes”.
This Bill is a consolidation of Senate Bills filed by Majority Floor Leader Senator Vicente Sotto III, Senators Gregorio Honasan II and Miguel Zubiri, and this humble representation.
Said bills have been considered, studied and deliberated upon and took into consideration the inputs from different government agencies, resource persons and other stakeholders concerned.
Over the years, the government has grown into a system with the tendency for over-expansion and unnecessary self-perpetuation in several sectors of the society. This resulted in different government agencies having overlapping, duplicative or redundant operations and functions, thus, becoming ineffective and inefficient in the delivery of certain services. Furthermore, the overlapping structure also burdens the government with unnecessary costs.
In his Fiscals Year 2017 Budget Message, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself expressed concern over the size of our bureaucracy. Specifically, he noted that although the expansion of the bureaucracy is a response to the growing demand of public services, there is still fat in government that we must trim.
From 176 agencies in 2000, there are now 186 agencies in the National Government. Moreover, the National Government workforce currently stands at 1.6 million, compared to 1.1 million positions in 2000.
The increase in the number of government agencies, without doubt, has a significant impact on our budget. For 2017, 29.57% of our budget of P3.35 trillion (or P990.5 billion) is allocated for Personnel Services (PS), an increase from 2016’s 27.05% (P812 billion) and 2015’s 28.62% (P746 billion).
Aside from these budgetary implications, a big bureaucracy has a negative impact on government performance and efficiency. For example, the overlapping jurisdictions and redundant functions of several agencies result in confusing regulatory rules, duplicating requirements, red tape and inefficient delivery of public goods and services, which could be detrimental to the Filipino people. Moreover, to continue funding these redundant and outdated agencies is certainly a waste of our limited resources.
Mr. President, it is time we address the inefficiencies brought about by “the fat in government” by rationalizing and rightsizing the functions and organizational structure of the different agencies in the Executive Branch.
With the passage of this bill, the National Government will implement a Rightsizing Program that would further enhance the government’s institutional capacity, thereby giving more value to taxpayer’s money and be responsive to the changing demands of the public.
May we highlight that the Program is a function-based effort, which means that it aims to refocus government efforts to the performance of its core functions and improve the effective and efficient delivery of services.
In addition, this Program will help agencies simplify/improve their respective systems and processes, as well as adopt certain management systems improvement and productivity enhancement measures to reduce the processing time of transactions and eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements, thereby providing better and high quality services to the public.
The bill will cover all agencies in the Executive Branch, including departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards, councils, and all other entities attached to or under their administrative supervision, as well as Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) not covered by Republic Act (RA) No. 10149 (GOCC Governance Act of 2011).
The Legislature, the Judiciary, Constitutional Commissions, Office of the Ombudsman and Local Government Units may, within their respective authorized appropriations and financial capability, likewise rightsize their respective offices, consistent with the principles and guidelines contained in the bill.
On the other hand, the Governance Commission for GOCCs will continue to exercise its authority under RA No. 10149 to reorganize, merge, streamline, abolish or privatize any GOCC, in consultation with the agency to which the GOCC is attached.
Specifically, this bill will provide the President of the Philippines the following authority in accordance with the guiding principles, policies, standards and guidelines of this proposed legislative measure:
- To pursue the following functional shifts/modifications:
- Strengthen functions of the agency which directly contribute to the targeted ultimate societal outcomes of the National Government and/or the targeted sector/sub-sector outcomes of the agency;
- Scale down, phase out, eliminate or discontinue functions, programs, projects or activities that could be better carried out or undertaken by the private sector, or have already been devolved to LGUs; and
- Transfer/integrate functions from one agency to another which could better perform the same.
- To undertake the following organizational actions:
- Regularize ad hoc offices whose functions are vital and significant, thus must be continually undertaken by the government;
- Merge or consolidate agencies whose functions are unnecessarily overlapping or duplicating;
- Split agencies with multifarious functions which are deemed distinct but with equally important aspects of governance;
- Transfer offices to other agencies where their functions are more aligned; and
- Abolish agencies (i) whose functions are already redundant or no longer relevant or necessary, or could be better undertaken by another entity; (ii) which are no longer achieving the objectives and purposes for which they were originally created; (iii) which are not cost-effective since they do not generate the desired level of outputs and outcomes vis-à-vis the resource inputs; and/or (iv) which have already become non-operational or dormant and/or outlived their purpose.
A Committee on Rightsizing the Executive Branch will be created to oversee the implementation of the Program, composed of the Executive Secretary as Chairman, and the Secretary of Budget and Management as Co-Chairman, with the Secretary of Socio-Economic Planning, Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), and the Head of the Presidential Management Staff, as members.
A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee to oversee, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Act will likewise be created to be composed of five (5) members each from the Senate and from the House of Representatives.
May I highlight that the implementation of the Program shall not involve forced retirement or separation of affected regular employees. Regular personnel whose positions would be affected in the implementation of the Program shall have the option to (1) avail of retirement benefits and separation incentives, or (2) be placed in agencies needing additional personnel to be handled by the CSC.
Given the changes in the economic and socio-political environment in the country, it is high time, Mr. President and my distinguished colleagues, to rationalize or rightsize the organization and operations of the different agencies of the government to respond to the increasing public demand for faster, high quality, and more effective and efficient delivery of services.
In light of the foregoing, I enjoin my colleagues to support this legislative measure.