Marcos pushes for government rightsizing in first SONA

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2022 09:32 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2022 09:33 PM

Some government employees stage a protest against the Marcos administration's 'rightsizing' proposal on July 20, 2022. Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News
Some government employees stage a protest against the Marcos administration's "rightsizing" proposal on July 20, 2022. Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday asked the 19th Congress to pass a law to institutionalize "rightsizing" of government.

In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), Marcos listed the "National Government Rightsizing Program" among the measures that he urged lawmakers to prioritize passing.

The program "will enhance the government's institutional capacity to perform its mandate and to provide better services, while ensuring optimal and efficient use of resources," Marcos said. 

He added that rightsizing, compared to previous government reorganization initiatives, would entail a "comprehensive strategic review of the functions, operations, organization, system, and processes of the different agencies, and massive and transformational initiatives... such as mergers, consolidations, splitting, transfer, and even the abolition of some offices."

"The rightsizing will also involve the conduct of comprehensive strategic review of functions, programs, and projects that will cut across various agencies," the President said. 

The proposal to "rightsize" government agencies was among the first programs laid out by the current administration, just 2 weeks after Marcos was sworn into the presidency. 

In his first order as President, Marcos abolished the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, citing the need for a “just allocation of resources” due to the ongoing health and fiscal crises. 

“In order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency in the bureaucracy without effecting disruptions in internal management and governance, the administration shall streamline processes and procedures by reorganizing… and abolishing duplicated and overlapping official functions,” Marcos' first executive order read.

Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said her department supported the proposal, in order to attain a "lean, efficient, and responsive workforce."

"Ang overarching objective nito [rightsizing] ay magkaroon ng maliit na burukrasya na agile at responsive sa makabagong panahon. Aayusin po ng programang ito ‘yung mga ahensya na mayroong repetitive functions or overlapping functions," Pangandaman had said. 

(The overarching objective of this is to have a compact bureaucracy that is agile and responsive to the modern times. This program will fix agencies with repetitive functions or overlapping functions.) 

But some government employees—particularly contractual workers—expressed concern over the proposal, saying rightsizing would make them "sacrificial lambs" in the effort to streamline government offices. 

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