December 18, 2019

A stronger culture of planning in the country is needed to fully synchronize planning, investment programming, budgeting and implementation, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

“In order to achieve the national economic and patrimony goals stated in our Constitution, the planning, programming and budget linkage in the government needs to be firmly established, coupled with a results-oriented monitoring and evaluation system,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

According to studies by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, the country’s planning, policy-making, programming, and budgeting processes have been largely fragmented, uncoordinated, and often interrupted.

These studies reveal that even sound policies and programs that address the root causes of problems often get disrupted, discontinued, or not given due attention.

In a presentation during the AskNEDA Year-end Media Briefing held on Wednesday, Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning Carlos Bernardo O. Abad Santos said that the current set-up and human resources of NEDA cannot catch up with the growing demands arising from many reform initiatives coming from different branches and levels of government.

“This makes it hard for NEDA to steer development initiatives in the right direction when the need to lead and intervene arises, such as when plans and policy reforms are uncoordinated,” Abad Santos said.

At present, both chambers of the legislative branch have filed bills that aim to empower NEDA as the country’s highest socioeconomic planning agency. These bills intend to strengthen the agency’s mandate in overseeing the creation and implementation of long-term, continuing, integrated, and coordinated programs and policies for national and sub-national development.

The NEDA officials stressed that the passage of the proposed NEDA Act is crucial to the implementation of the country’s development agenda, including the realization of the country’s long-term vision called Ambisyon Natin 2040.

The bill seeks to institutionalize “Planning Call” to ensure a timely and coordinated process and give NEDA a sufficiently authoritative position as an oversight body.

“We hope that the proposed NEDA Act will give enough power and resources to the agency in order to take on a stronger leadership role in planning. By this, we mean NEDA having sufficient influence over sectoral and agency plans, as well as over sub-national plans. This would ensure that we are all headed in the same direction so that the country is making substantial and sustainable progress that leaves no one behind,” the Assistant Secretary added.

The proposed legislation aims to ensure the integration of the Philippine Development Plan and Regional Development Plans, as well as the institutionalization of long-term planning.

“We have already made progress in our planning process, but we need to do more.”

NEDA is celebrating its 84th founding anniversary on December 23 after it retraced its roots to the creation of the National Economic Council.

At the same time, the agency is also celebrating the Socioeconomic Planning and Development week from December 17 to 23, 2019, pursuant to Proclamation No. 666, series of 1990.