An unnumbered substitute bill institutionalizing the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as the independent economic and planning agency of the Philippine government got the approval of the House Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday. The measure, also known as “The National Economic and Development Authority Act of 2018”, is principally authored by former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It substitutes House Bills 8124, 8189, 8527, and 8635. The bill establishes the NEDA as an independent economic and planning agency that shall provide objective and evidence-based analyses and recommendations for the socio-economic betterment of the nation. The NEDA shall consist of two distinct but functionally related entities: the NEDA Board and the NEDA. During the meeting, NEDA Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro assured that the NEDA remains Constitutionally mandated to collaborate with other government agencies, local government units, and members of the private sector. The NEDA must also still go through the process of recommending to the Congress given that the mandate of NEDA towards national development makes it accountable to the Filipino people. The meeting, presided by Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora (1st District, Compostela Valley), was attended by bill co-author Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda (2nd District, Albay) and Rep. Ma. Lourdes Aggabao (4th District, Isabela). | Caption by Czarina Engracia / Photos by Gilbert Manalo / News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau / House of Representatives of the Philippines