Balisacan as Neda chief: ‘I don’t have politics in my blood’
MANILA, Philippines — Incoming National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) chief Arsenio Balisacan says he does not put politics into his work, citing his experience with different previous presidents —including the late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier announced that Balisacan will return to his post as Neda chief. Balisacan served as Neda chief in the Aquino Cabinet.
Asked about his designation as the next Neda chief given the history between the Aquino and Marcos families, Balisacan said he has worked with different presidents in the past.
“I think the incoming president knows very well that I don’t have politics in my blood and I just do my work. So it should not really matter who I work with,” Balisacan said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“I worked with President [Joseph] Estrada as well, I was undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture when he was president. I worked with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and of course PNoy (President Aquino) [at] the highest level. I really did not put any politics at all into my work,” he added.
According to Balisacan, when he received the offer to lead Neda, he initially asked Marcos Jr. to give him few days to think since he already has plans once his term with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) ends. Balisacan currently serves as PCC chair.
“I should say that I never asked for any positions, never asked for any positions in government for that matter. I am deeply honored when the president-elect invited me to form part of his Cabinet, particularly in his economic team,” Balisacan said.
“I asked for a few days to think about it because I already have some plans after my term at PCC but the call of service was very hard to refuse,” he added.
Balisacan said he does not want to have a feeling of “guilt of not responding to the call when there was such a request.”
“I think it’s probably not time for me to at least not try,” Balisacan said.
“The personalities in the Cabinet are very encouraging, very competent and I think I can work very well with all of them, particularly many of them are well-known and long-time colleagues already so I think it will be a very good team,” he added.
Another member of the Marcos Jr. economic team that has been announced is incoming Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who currently heads the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
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