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DOF Usec Chua is acting NEDA chief

/ 03:39 PM April 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has named Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua as acting Secretary of the National Economic Development Authority following the resignation of Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed this Friday in a text message to reporters.

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“The President has appointed DOF Usec. Karl Chua as acting Secretary of NEDA,” Medialdea said.

Pernia bares reason for quitting

In a statement, Pernia said he decided to resign “due partly to personal reasons and partly to differences in development philosophy with a few of my fellow Cabinet members.”

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Last Sunday, rumors swirled around that Pernia was supposedly “fired,” but he denied.

In a statement Friday, Pernia said: “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.”

“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.

“I must also thank my Neda family for their trust and confidence in my leadership of the agency in crafting and pursuing the goals of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 towards our country’s Ambisyon Natin 2040, as well as evaluating and reviewing flagship infrastructure projects for approval by the President-chaired Neda Board and their eventual implementation,” Pernia added.

“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,” according to Pernia.

Asked by the Inquirer if he was consulted by Pernia before tendering his resignation, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III replied: “No, he didn’t.”

Also asked if President Duterte will accept Pernia’s resignation, Dominguez said: “I don’t know the answer to your second question.”

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Just last Tuesday, Pernia told the Inquirer that Neda was crafting the interventions deemed necessary to revive both consumer and business confidence when the COVID-19 lockdowns were dismantled.

“We’re still with phase one: rebuilding consumer confidence; phase two: restoring business optimism; phase three: adapting to a new normal—recover as one. There will be a dashboard for each phase. Phase one dashboard to be completed on April 16,” Pernia said.

Pernia’s resignation came as the country grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

The 76-year-old Cabinet official was appointed as NEDA chief in July 2016 when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.

Chua will now be tasked to lead the crafting of policies defining the “new normal” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With a report from Ben O. de Vera, Inquirer Business

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TAGS: Business, Ernesto Pernia, Karl Chua, Malacañang, NEDA, Rodrigo Duterte
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