SOCIOECONOMIC Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said he has decided to resign from his post over “differences in development philosophy” with some fellow Cabinet members.
Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua has been named by President Rodrigo Duterte as Pernia’s replacement, according to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
“After reflection during Holy Week, and consultations with my family and close colleagues, I have decided to resign from my post as Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning. This is due partly to personal reasons and partly to differences in development philosophy with a few of my fellow Cabinet members,” Pernia said in a statement posted on the social media accounts of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) on Friday, April 17.
The Socioeconomic Planning secretary also serves as Neda director general.
“I would like to thank the President for appointing me to the position. It has been an honor and privilege to have served the country under his administration for the past nearly four years,” Pernia said.
He also expressed gratitude to all Neda personnel “for their trust and confidence in my leadership of the agency in crafting and pursuing the goals of the Philippines Development Plan 2017-2022 towards our country’s Ambisyon Natin 2040.”
The agency also evaluates and reviews flagship infrastructure projects for approval by the Neda Board, which is chaired by the President, and their eventual implementation.
“I leave Neda knowing that we have initiated and implemented meaningful changes that will help the country overcome these challenging times and on to a higher growth trajectory,” Pernia said.
Neda chairs the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Technical Working Group (TWG) for Anticipatory and Forward Planning, which has been tasked to draft the guidelines for the “new normal” and craft a bounce-back program for the Philippine economy after the quarantine restrictions are lifted.
Pernia, 76, spent his undergraduate years in Cebu and obtained an AB Philosophy degree from the San Carlos Major Seminary in 1963.
He was appointed as Neda director general and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary shortly after the May 2016 elections.
Before his appointment, he was a professor emeritus of economics at the University of the Philippines and was the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of San Carlos from 2011 to 2014.
He is recognized as one of the top scientists in the Philippines, among others.
Meanwhile, Chua was the undersecretary for the Strategy, Economics, and Results Group in the Department of Finance.
He has been instrumental in the crafting and implementation of the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program.
Before he joined the government, he was the senior country economist of the World Bank for the Philippines.
He has a PhD in economics, specializing in fiscal policy and tax administration, from the UP School of Economics. (Jove T. Moya/SunStar Philippines)