By Louise Maureen Simeon, March 6, 2023; The Philippine Star

Manila, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is optimistic the proposal to rightsize the bureaucracy will be enacted into law this year even amid other priority measures of the administration.

Budget chief Amenah Pangandaman is hoping that the National Government Rightsizing Program (NGRP) will be passed this year.

“Hopefully this year, I think next week it will be passed in the House (of Representatives) then we will try to push it in the Senate,” Pangandaman said.

“We really hope this year, so we can start because it will not be done immediately,” she said.

But Pangandaman said the other priority measures of the Marcos administration could delay the passage of the bill.

“Although it’s in the CLA (common legislative agenda), we still have the Maharlika (Investment Fund) and now they are talking about Charter change,” she said.

Nonetheless, the budget chief assured that the rightsizing bill will not be put on the back burner especially at a time when the country’s deficit is still high.

First floated in 2016, the NGRP is a reform mechanism aimed at enhancing the government’s institutional capacity to enable it to implement transformational reform initiatives and improve public service delivery.

It also targets to focus on the performance of the vital function of agencies and simplify systems and processes through various stem management and productivity enhancement.

The program covers all departments and agencies of the executive branch. However, it excludes teaching related positions in schools, medical and allied medical items, military and uniformed personnel, and positions in GOCCs.

Governing principles of the NGRP aim to determine the role and activities of the government, establish a conducive policy environment, and delineate responsibilities between the national and local government.

It also aims to simplify government operations, streamline and digitalize systems, and rationalize rules and operations.

Should the bill be enacted, the President will have the authority to rightsize the executive branch within three years.