NEDA chief ‘open’ to creation of Dep’t of Filipinos Overseas with ‘improvements’
MANILA, Philippines — National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Karl Kendrick Chua said Thursday he is “open” to the creation of the Department of Filipinos Overseas but certain provisions of the bill proposing it needs to be improved.
During the online hearing of the Senate committee on finance, Senator Joel Villanueva, who serves as the chair of the committee on labor in the upper chamber, raised the topic, saying that NEDA has yet to submit its position paper on the proposed Department of Filipinos Overseas.
Villanueva said that while other government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have submitted their comments regarding the proposed new department, they were “vague.”
“I have begun to review this again and personally, there are many trade-offs kasi when we create new departments especially if the mandates are being done by other offices,” Chua said.
“But given the developments, the COVID, the need to look after millions of OFWs, I’m actually more open to it,” he added.
However, Chua added that certain provisions of the bill proposing the creation of the Department of Filipinos Overseas need to be looked into and possibly improved.
“What I requested the team really is to look into how we can improve the provisions of the bill. For instance, one of the concerns was whether we need such a department that will last for a long time,” Chua said.
Chua cited the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), which he said, ‘continues to exist even after certain functions have already ceased.”
“So what I actually told them was to look into the time period, maybe we can evaluate every few years whether such a department or agency is actually needed,” Chua said.
“So my stand right now is I’m open to it but I think there are some provisions that we can help you further improve,” he added.
Villanueva likewise lamented his “very disappointing relationship” with NEDA over the past years, specifically on the security of tenure which was vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We’ve been inviting them (NEDA) several times, they would not appear, they would not say anything and then all of a sudden, they would issue a public statement for the President to veto the measure. Ang sakit sakit po,” Villanueva said.
Chua appeared before the Senate for the proposed P11.17 billion 2021 budget of NEDA, which is P1.2 billion lower than its budget in 2020.
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