A BILL that seeks to create a department-level agency for economic and development planning was approved on second reading by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

House Bill 10625 or the Department of Economics and Development Planning Act aims to enhance the government’s planning system through a separate department. 

Under the current government system, socioeconomic planning is undertaken by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). 

Under the proposed law, NEDA will be integrated into the new department, to be headed by a Cabinet-level secretary who will be the country’s chief economist and serve as the President’s economic advisor.

The establishment of the department also aims to streamline national plans, strengthen the distribution of plans, ensure continuity of plans and programs, and expand multi-sector participation. 

The measure will also create an Economic and Development Council that will oversee the policy direction on economic, social, financial and environmental issues. The council will be chaired by the President. — Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan