PAGBA is pleased to post the answers to unanswered questions (for lack of time) posed by certain participants during the 1st Quarterly Seminar held in Baguio City on April 5-8, 2017.
Question 1: Can you give us an update on Rightsizing?
Senate Bill No. 1395 entitled An Act Rightsizing the National Government to Improve Public Services Delivery and for Other Purposes, which is authored by Senators Loren B. Legarda, Vicente C. Sotto III, Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, Gregorio B. Honasan II and Antonio F. Trillanes IV, is currently under second reading in the Senate. Senators Legarda and Sotto delivered their sponsorship and co-sponsorship speeches, respectively, on March 15, 2017.
On the other hand, the House Committees on Government Reorganization and Appropriations jointly conducted a public hearing for the purpose on March 14, 2017. Currently, House Bill No. 3781 entitled An Act Rightsizing the National Government to Improve Public Services Delivery, which is authored by Representatives Karlo Alexei and Jericho Jonas B. Nograles, serves as the working draft of the HOR’s version of the Bill.
Said House Committees will submit a joint report by May 2017, which will take into consideration the amendments proposed by the various representatives and other stakeholders present during the aforesaid public hearing.
Essentially, the bill has the following features:
- Granting authority to the President to rightsize the operations of the Executive Branch, subject to the governing principles, policies, standards and guidelines in the Act;
- Creation of a Committee on Rightsizing the National Government to assist the President in the implementation of the Program, particularly in developing the rightsized organizational structure of departments/agencies and the corresponding executive issuances for approval by the President;
- Submission of agencies of their detailed organizational structure and staffing pattern consistent with the approved executive issuance, for evaluation and approval of the DBM; and
- Creation of a manpower pool or provision of retirement benefits and separation incentives for affected personnel.
Is there a second tranche of the Rat Plan? If there is, when?
Instead of a Rationalization Program, a National Government Rightsizing Program is being pursued by the current Administration. This is in line with the directive of the President to all agency heads to streamline the operations of their respective agencies.
The Program is a reform mechanism that primarily aims to enhance the government’s institutional capacity. It is noted that the Program is a function-based effort, which means that it aims to refocus government efforts to the performance of its core functions and likewise to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services.
Four Senate Bills and four House Bills on the implementation of the National Government Rightsizing Program have already been filed in the Senate and the HOR.
Under this Program, a Committee on Rightsizing the National Government shall be created to perform the following functions:
- Develop the framework, policies, strategies and mechanisms to be adopted in the implementation of the government’s Rightsizing Program;
- Conduct studies on the functions, programs, projects, operations, structure and manpower complement of different departments/agencies;
- Come up with the recommended functional and organizational shifts/reforms for agencies concerned;
- Develop and prepare the rightsized organizational structure of departments/agencies and the corresponding executive issuances for approval by the President;
- Monitor the implementation by various departments/agencies of their respective approved Rightsizing Plans, and report to the President any issue that must be addressed; and
- Commission the conduct of an independent impact assessment on the Program after its completion.
The Committee shall submit to the President the rightsized organizational structure and the corresponding executive issuances within one year from the effectivity of the IRR. Thereafter, the agency heads shall prepare and submit to the DBM the detailed organizational structure and staffing of the respective agencies within 90 days after the approval of the executive issuances by the President.
What are the parameters the government considered in the rightsizing?
- Implement radical and transformational reform initiatives by streamlining the operations of the different agencies of the Executive Branch and rightsizing their organizational structure and manpower complement;
- Improve public service delivery by undertaking organizational actions that will (a) eliminate functions, programs and projects which are already redundant or no longer necessary, and those duplicating or overlapping between/among the units within the agency or with other agencies of the National Government, and (b) strengthen sectors/agencies that need additional resources;
- Focus on the performance of the vital/core functions of agencies and ensure the effective, efficient and economical implementation of their programs and projects that will lead to the attainment of the desired sectoral and national goals; and
- Simplify the respective systems and processes of agencies, as well as pursue various management systems improvement and productivity enhancement measures/initiatives to enable them to provide better and higher quality of services to their clients.
Is the long years of service in government considered?
Affected personnel will be given an option to a) retire under the Program with applicable retirement benefits and separation incentives; or b) be placed in a manpower pool to be administered by the Civil Service Commission.
If an affected personnel opts to retire under the Program, he/she shall be entitled to retirement benefits under existing laws, i.e., RA No. 1616, RA No. 660, RA No. 8291. In addition, he/she shall be entitled to avail of the Program’s separation incentives, as follows:
- ½ of the actual monthly basic salary for every year of government service, for those who have rendered less than 11 years of service;
- ¾ of the actual monthly basic salary for every year of government service, computed starting from the 1st year, for those who have rendered 11 to less than 21 years of service;
- the actual monthly basic salary for every year of government service, computed starting from the 1st year, for those who have rendered 21 to less than 31 years of service; and
- 1 ¼ of the actual monthly basic salary for every year of government service, computed starting from the 1st year, for those who have rendered 31 years of service and above.
A minimum of five (5) years of government service is required in order for an affected personnel to qualify for the above-mentioned separation incentives.
The number of personnel who will avail of said separation incentives under the Rightsizing Act shall in no case exceed the number of positions declared for abolition.
Is an agency authorized to modify a Locally-Funded Project? If yes, who is the approving authority?
The level of approval required to modify Locally-Funded Projects depends on the nature of modification involved.
Modification within a P/A/P, for released allotments by approving authority-
Head of Agency:
- Change in the object of the expenditure within an allotment class (Personnel Services, MOOE or Capital Outlays).
- Change in scope
DBM, Modification within a P/A/P for released allotments:
- From one allotment class to another
- From operating unit to another
- Change of location
Office of the President, Augmentation from one P/A/P to another existing P/A/P using savings* for deficiencies arising from:
- Unforeseen modifications or adjustments in the P/A/P
- Re-assessment in the use, prioritization and/or distribution of resources
The existence of a P/A/P regardless of the availability of allotment classes/object of expenditure is sufficient for the purpose of augmentation
* Savings – Unobligated portions or balances of released appropriations under the GAA
- Finally discontinued or abandoned;
- Not commenced;
- Decreased cost due to improved efficiency; or
- Difference between the approved budget and the contract award price.
What PS deficiencies may be covered by available PS allotments?
- Authorized Magna Carta benefits
- Specific-purpose allowances and benefits
- Award of backpay for cases with final and executory decisions of Courts, CSC, COA, etc.
- Personnel benefits authorized in prior years, approved for payment during the current year. These benefits shall not be considered as prior years’ unbooked obligations.
- Upgrading faculty positions up to the 6th cycle pursuant to NBC No. 461 dated June 1, 1998.
In case of insufficient available agency-specific PS allotments, PS deficiencies may be covered by available balances from the MPBF subject to compliance with the pertinent Special Provisions thereof.
What PS deficiencies may be covered by available PS allotments? What are the requirements relative to the release of continuing appropriations (unreleased previous year’s appropriations) during the current year, given the current year’s allotment release program?
Requesting agency to directly submit to the DBM BMB/RO concerned a Special Budget Request (SBR) supported with the following documents:
- BED 1 – Financial Plan for the requested amount
- BED 2 – Physical Plan, corresponding physical output
- BED 3 – MDP for the project should have already been included in the original MDP submitted; otherwise, an additional MDP shall
be submitted to FPRB, copy furnished BTB
- FAR 1 – Statement of Allotment, obligations and disbursements as of the end of the period immediately preceding the date of request
- Other documents that may be required by the evaluating DBM unit, relative to the nature of the request.
In the case of SUCs, the SUCs shall submit the SBR and supporting documents, to the DBM RO concerned which may also require other supporting materials.
The DBM BMB/RO concerned shall evaluate the requests and release the requested budget authorizations for valid requests.
How are agency-specific budget lumpsum funds for PS released to cover PS requirements for the filling-up of unfilled/newly created positions?
The agency-specific budget PS lumpsums covers the total PS budgetary requirements, including the corresponding amount for RLIP requirements. However, in releasing the funds, 2 SAROs are required to be issued, to wit:
- SARO 1 – to cover the RLIP requirements, chargeable against automatic appropriations
- SARO 2 – to cover the rest of the PS requirements, i.e., net of the RLIP, chargeable against the agency-specific budget for the PS lumpsum.
This means that the amount corresponding to the RLIP shall remain as unreleased appropriations under the agency-specific budget, to ensure that the full year national government P3.35T expenditure program will not be exceeded.
How are items of appropriations in the GAA classified according to release scheduled?
Items of appropriations under the GAA are classified as follows:
- For Comprehensive Release (FCR) – pertains to agency specific allocation for GAA items, with details as to list of programs and projects for implementation and implementing unit/s, deemed released upon effectivity of the GAA.
- The GAA as Allotment Order (GAAAO) serves as the obligational authority for agencies to start implementation of the programs and projects
- For Later Release (FLR) – refer to items not covered under the GAAAO, including programmed automatic appropriations, Administration of Personnel of Benefits (APB) covering (i) lumpsum for filling up of unfilled/newly created positions and (ii) retirement benefits of compulsory retirees, centrally-managed items (CMIs) without details.
- FLR items require the issuance of either a GARO (automatic appropriation for RLIP) or a SARO
It is to be emphasized that the GAAAO does not cover APB for the retirement benefits of compulsory retirees. Such APB can only be released through the issuance of a SARO before payments can be made.