By Noreen Jazul, Chino Leyco, and Argyll Geducos
As the coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the Philippine economy, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia resigned Friday, ending his nearly four-year stint as chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), citing “personal reasons” and “differences” in views with other highranking government officials.
President Duterte accepted Pernia’s resignation and named Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua as acting secretary of the NEDA.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed that Pernia has decided to step down and that President Duterte accepted his resignation.
“Personal reasons and the President has accepted it,” he said Friday.
In his statement, Pernia cited “personal reasons and differences in development philosophy with fellow Cabinet members” behind his resignation.
“I have decided to resign from my post as Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning. This is due partly to personal rea – sons and partly to differences in development philosophy with a few of my fellow Cabinet members,” Pernia said.
Pernia, 76, did not did name the officials whose policies differ from his.
“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,” said Pernia, who also served as lead econo – mist of the Asian Development Bank.
He also thanked people of the NEDA for their trust and confidence in his leadership of the agency in “crafting and pursuing the goals of the Philippines Development Plan 2017-2022 towards our coun try’s Ambisyon Natin 2040.”
In another text message, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque confirmed Pernia’s resignation from NEDA and President Duterte’s decision to appoint Chua in acting capacity.
As the NEDA chief, Pernia was also the Duterte administration’s lead evaluator and reviewer of the government’s infrastructure projects.
“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,” he said.