Philippines economic planning chief Pernia resigns during COVID-19 lockdown

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 17 2020 03:34 PM | Updated as of Apr 17 2020 05:25 PM

National Economic Development Authority Secretary Ernesto Pernia during the year-end press conference of the economic agency on December 14, 2017. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- (UPDATE) The Philippines' socioeconomic planning chief resigned on Friday, citing personal reasons and "differences" with his Cabinet colleagues, as the economy remained shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sec. Ernesto Pernia had said the Philippine economy could contract due to COVID-19. Luzon, home to half the country's 100 million people, was locked down from March 17 and the quarantine is scheduled to last until April 30.

Finance Usec. Karl Kendrick Chua, a former World Bank economist, will replace Pernia in an acting capacity, said Executive Sec. Salvador Medialdea.

"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," Pernia said.

"This is due partly to personal reasons and partly to differences in development philosophy with a few of my fellow Cabinet members," he said.

Pernia served as secretary of socioeconomic planning and director general of the National Economic Development Authority since the start of President Rodrigo Duterte's term in 2016.

"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.

"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," he added.


-- with a report from Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News