NEDA chief resigns; Palace cites health

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11:40 AM May 12th, 2012

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By: Norman Bordadora, May 12th, 2012 11:40 AM

Former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Cayetano W. Paderanga Jr. INQUIRER PHOTO / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines – National Economic Development Authority Director-General Cayetano Paderanga, Jr., a key member of President Benigno Aquino III’s economic team, has resigned, Malacañang announced Saturday.

Abigail Valte, one of the President’s spokespersons, said Paderanga quit for health reasons and that Mr. Aquino has appointed Arsenio Balisacan, dean of the University of the Philippines School of Economics, as his replacement.

“We are very happy to have worked with Secretary Paderanga and we thank him for the two years [of service] and the help that he has given to the President,” Valte said in an interview on the state-run radio dzRB.

Paderanga, 63, was Aquino’s NEDA chief since the Chief Executive assumed office in 2010. He also served as NEDA chief of the President’s late mother, former President Corazon Aquino, from 1990 to 1992.

Paderanga was a member of the Monetary Board from 1993 to 1999 and was executive director for the Philippines of the Asian Development Bank from 2001 to 2003. He’s also a professor at the UP School of Economics.

Valte denied a suggestion that Paderanga was asked to resign his NEDA post, something akin to getting fired.

“From what I understand, it was Secretary Paderanga who went to the President and said that because he has health problems, he wants to turn it over to somebody else,” Valte said.

On whether there will be more changes in the President’s economic team, Valte said, “It appears there’s nothing more.”

“This was the only one we have been advised of. If there will be any, we will let you know at the soonest possible time,” Valte said.

Valte said Balisacan was also an adjunct professor at the Australian National University and executive director of the Philippine Center for Economic Development.

“Dr. Balisacan also served as an adviser and expert on poverty, food security, agricultural and rural development, human development, impact assessment, and governance issues to public chief executives and legislators, non-governmental organizations, multilateral development institutions, like the World Bank, the ADB, and various United Nations agencies,” Valte said.

“He’s also the author and co-editor of seven books and has written over 100 articles and technical journals and book chapters. He founded and continues to serve as the editor of the Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development, an internationally referred journal,” she added.

Valte said Balisacan has a doctorate in economics from the University of Hawaii and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from UP-Los Baños. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in agrciulture from the Mariano Marcos State University.

He was appointed dean of the UP School of Economics in 2010.

According to the the UPSE Web site, Balisacan’s research interests include agricultural economics, development economics, and poverty and income distribution.

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