In a major shakeup following the departure of one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s trusted aides, eight agencies of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary have been transferred to three departments.
The reorganization came after Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., a former communist rebel and now trusted aide of the President, stepped down from his post to run for governor of Bohol in the 2019 midterm elections.
Executive Order No. 67 reorganizes the OCS by removing from its supervision eight agencies and transferring them to the departments of Interior and Local Government, Social Welfare and Development, and Trade and Industry.
Under the EO, the following agencies will be transferred to their respective departments:
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Cooperative Development Authority will now be under the Department of Trade and Industry.
The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, the Philippine Commission on Women, and the National Youth Commission will be under the supervision of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The National Anti-Poverty Commission, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor will be supervised by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The transferred agencies are expected to align their policies, programs and activities with their respective departments and simply their systems and processes to ensure responsiveness and efficiency in the delivery of essential public services.
The order also said the executive office would also now have control and supervision over the Strategic Action and Response Office and all its constituent offices.
The STAR, established through EO 9 signed in 2016, is composed of the Presidential Complaint Center, Public Concerns Office, Quick Response Center, and the 8888 Citizens’ Complaint Center.
The OCS will now be known as the Cabinet Secretariat.
“It shall have the function of assisting the President in the establishment of agenda topics for Cabinet deliberation or facilitate the discussion of Cabinet meetings... The Cabinet Secretariat shall serve as the head secretariat of the different Cabinet Cluster secretariats,” the EO added.
EO 67 also abolished the Office of Participatory Governance and the Performance and Projects Management Office, both created through EO 9.
The functions of both abolished agencies will now be taken by the DILG and the Presidential Management Staff.
PMS, on the other hand, was instructed to monitor the implementation of presidential directives, Cabinet decisions, and Cabinet cluster directives, instructions, and commitments providing the executive office with policy inputs on the management of government affairs.
Earlier reports said the President wants Davao 1st District Rep. Karlo Nograles to take over Evasco’s post, but presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo would say only that Duterte would announce his choice soon.
“Let’s just wait for the President to announce [it],” he said.
In the House, a party-list lawmaker sought the abolition of nine government-owned-and-controlled corporations and 12 government agencies to streamline the bureaucracy and to generate savings.
In filing House Bill 7873, House Deputy Minority Leader and AANGAT TAYO party-list Rep. Neil Abayon said the following state firms should be merged into the proposed Department of Investments Promotion: Clark Development Corp.; John Hay Management Corp.; First Cavite Industrial Estate, Inc.; Poro Point Management Corp.; Duty Free Philippines, Inc; Batangas Land Company; Pinagkaisa Realty Corp.; Kamayan Realty Corp.; and GY Real Estate, Inc.
The bill also seeks to fold 12 agencies into the same department: Board of Investments; Philippine
Economic Zone Authority; Public-Private Partnerships Center; Bases Conversion and Development Authority; Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority; PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority; Philippine Retirement
Authority; Cagayan Economic Zone Authority; Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan; Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority; Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority; and Southern Philippines Development Authority.
“Having so many investment promotion and area development agencies has caused confusion in the business community, created more red tape, needlessly enlarged the bureaucracy, resulted in hundreds of millions of pesos in lost revenue, and caused higher administration costs, including the compensation and benefits of a multitude of government officials,” Abayon said in the bill’s explanatory note.
Abayon said his proposed abolition of nine state firms and 12 agencies is in line with the earlier pronouncement of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez for Congress to rationalize the bureaucracy and plug revenue leaks.
Under Abayon’s proposal, the Department of Investments Promotion will be the lead investment promotion agency in charge of promoting both foreign and domestic investments.
The proposed department will formulate and implement the Investments Strategy and Action Plan targeting both foreign and domestic investors.