MINORITY Leader Stephen Paduano has appealed to senators to act on the proposed creation of the departments for the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) and for disaster response.
Paduano said rightsizing is not a hindrance to the creation of new but vital government departments or agencies.
Rather, he stressed, it serves as a reason to re-shape, reorganize and restructure the government to its right size.
Paduano, a representative of Abang Lingkod Party-list, reiterated his call on the senators to act swiftly on the two bills that the House of Representatives had already passed.
The lower chamber had approved House Bill No. 5832 or the Department of Filipinos Overseas (DFO) Act last March while House Bill No. 5989 or the Disaster Resilience Act was passed last September 21.
President Rodrigo Duterte had certified the two bills as urgent to address the needs of the times, particularly the problems brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and the string of disasters that hit the country.
Paduano said the “House has done its job, it’s the Senate’s turn to do its part.”
The data from the Center for Climate Change Economics and Policy showed that since 1990, an estimated damage due to disasters is about 1 Trillion pesos and more than 40,000 deaths.
On the other hand, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has reported that a total of 237,363 overseas Filipinos have been repatriated since the start of the pandemic while over 107,000 are expected to return before the year ends.
Paduano said the ball is already in the Senate and the speedy passage of these proposed laws depends on how the senators would view its importance.
Meanwhile, the Minority Leader expressed support for the move to streamline government offices.
The minority leader explained that “rightsizing” aims to bring the government to its right size to make it more responsive and effective.
Rightsizing is different from downsizing, he stressed, adding that the former “involves the determination of needed government agencies to be fused into one department, including a Department for OFWs but more importantly, the Department of Disaster Resilience.
The Government’s rightsizing effort would be incomplete if the creation of the departments for OFWs and Disaster Resilience is not approved.
Citing the Department of Budget and Management data indicating that as of 2019 there were more than 1.8 million permanent positions in the entire government bureaucracy and out of these, only 1.558M were filled, the solon quipped: “This is a whopping unfilled positions of more than 200,000.”
The minority leader emphasized that the funds appropriated for these unfilled posts could be utilized to support the creation of the two departments.