Balisacan urges Congress to pass NEDA reorganization bill

By Anna Leah Gonzales

March 13, 2024, 4:49 pm

MANILA – National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan on Wednesday urged lawmakers to pass the bill seeking the reorganization of the NEDA Secretariat.

During the inaugural public hearing of the Economy, Planning, and Development Bill in the 19th Congress at the House of Representatives, Balisacan said the reorganization of the NEDA Secretariat into the Department of Economy, Planning and Development (DEPDEV) will enable the institution to fulfill its expanded mandate more effectively as it helps shape and shepherd the nation’s social and economic development.

The measure is the latest iteration of the proposal to reorganize the NEDA into the DEPDEV in pursuit of enhanced policy coherence across the bureaucracy to achieve the country’s socio economic goals.

The bill aims to strengthen and streamline the powers and functions of the economic and planning agency to implement continuing and coordinated policies for national development and ensure that master plans are coordinated, synergistic, and responsive to emerging issues, as well as consistent with the country’s development priorities, strategies, and long-term vision.

“Proper planning can only go so far if it is not seamlessly linked with other equally essential steps in the cycle. These steps include budgeting, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, which feed back into the planning exercise. NEDA performs a catalytic role in each step," Balisacan said.

"The reorganization of NEDA into the Department of Economy, Planning, and Development or DEPDEV would strengthen NEDA's mandate and give the agency equal footing with other Executive departments, thereby reinforcing such linkages,” he added.

The bill seeks to promote stronger planning-budgeting linkages and more guided implementation of programs and policies consistent with the country’s development agenda.

The DEPDEV will be mandated to issue a planning call directing the government's planning cycle by prescribing standards, guidelines, as well as compliance and accountability mechanisms.

It shall also update the long-term vision as well as national and subnational development plans and work closely with the Department of Budget and Management to ensure the alignment of the annual and multi-year budget appropriations for priority programs and projects to attain identified development targets.

The proposed bill will also provide the DEPDEV with the mandate of formulating a medium-term national evaluation agenda and overseeing the government’s evaluation studies for its programs and projects.

The DEPDEV will also be tasked to implement a capacity-building program on development policy and planning for national and regional government agencies, as well as local government units.

“The reorganization will help ensure that well-crafted plans do not remain just that and that the policies and projects that the government approves are adequately monitored to check on their progress and rigorously evaluated to examine their effectiveness in realizing intended outcomes,” Balisacan said.

“In a fast-changing and increasingly complex world, the institutions playing a role in our country's economic governance must evolve to meet the needs of the times. We hope that Congress will recognize that the reorganization of NEDA into the DEPDEV will help our institution fulfill its mandate to serve the country and bring us closer toward the matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay (stable, convenient, and peaceful life) that we all aspire for,” he added. (PNA)