Senate President Vicente Sotto III has re-filed a bill seeking to streamline government offices, saying the measure could save taxpayers more than P1 trillion annually.

Sotto, in filing Senate Bill 244 or the “Rightsizing the National Government Act,” said the 186 departments, agencies and other offices had led to a bloated bureaucracy of 1.5 million workers.

This has led to “duplication in functions and redundancy in positions,” he said.

Sixty five percent of the national budget is appropriated for personnel services, while only 35 percent covers the expenses for government projects and services, Sotto pointed out.

The bill proposes to give the president the authority to abolish, create and transfer offices within the national government, among others.

To oversee the implementation of the measure, a committee on “rightsizing the national government” will be formed, to be led by the executive secretary, with the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management as co-chairman and the National Economic Development Authority director general, chairman of the Civil Service Commission and the head of the Presidential Management Staff as members.

Sotto said his bill should be prioritized over those proposing new departments such as the departments of Disaster Resilience, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Water Resources Management, Public Safety, Homeland Security, Migration and Development and Sports.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address on July 22, renewed his call for the passage of a government rightsizing bill, but pitched for the creation of the Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission, Department of Disaster Management and Department of OFWs. (