Senate approves DOST's 2024 budget

Izzy Lee, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 18 2023 01:21 AM

MANILA — The Senate on Friday approved the proposed 2024 budget of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and its attached agencies totaling more than P26.7 billion.

However, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva raised concerns about overlapping functions within different government departments.

He highlighted examples such as the Department of Health, Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture, each having entities engaged in similar research and development activities.

Villanueva questioned the redundancy, stating, "Nagiging biro na lang po every time we talk about different departments doing the same thing, and somehow confusing legislators."

Villanueva requested the department to conduct a review assessment of its organizational structure and functions of each attached agency.

Senator Francis Tolentino, sponsor of the DOST budget, acknowledged the overlapping functions and explained that certain agencies had adopted functions originally outlined in Executive Order No. 128 of 1987.

Tolentino said DOST's outputs are being utilized by other government agencies.

"They're the ones in charge of research and development, and other government entities are supposed to coordinate with them. What is happening right that their outputs are being utilized by other government agencies to justify perhaps their own existence," he said

Villanueva advocated for "right-sizing" government agencies, emphasizing that it doesn't necessarily mean downsizing but aims to create a more efficient and responsive government structure.

"DBM already stated that right sizing is designed to arrive at the appropriate structure and size of government agencies that will be responsive in the delivery of public goods and services in an effective and efficient manner, at the right time and at the right costs," Villanueva said.

Tolentino also mentioned a pending House Bill 7240, which proposes the accurate right-sizing of the national government.