Resigned economic planning chief Ernesto Pernia


Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia has resigned.

In a statement released by his office at 3:17 p.m. today, Pernia said he resigned “due partly to personal reasons and partly to differences in development philosophy with a few of my fellow Cabinet members.”

Malacañang immediately announced a replacement: Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua, who campaigned for the Duterte government’s tax reforms.

Pernia, a former dean of the UP School of Economics, said he came to his decision after reflection during the Holy Week and consultations with family and close colleagues.

He expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for tapping him to head the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), adding it was “an honor and privilege” to have served the country for nearly four years.

“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 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,” he said.

Pernia, 76, said he was leaving 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.”

Chua, 42, will serve as acting socioeconomic planning chief.

Chua has an economics doctorate from UP and had worked as a World Bank economist based in Manila.

He is said to be a protege of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the head of the Duterte economic team and one of the most influential members of the Cabinet. (Melo M. Acuña)