MANILA - Malacañang on Saturday "expressed its sincerest gratitude" to economist Ernesto Pernia following his resignation as chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), as it said his replacement was expected to help steer the economy under a "new normal" in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pernia had resigned from his post Friday, citing personal reasons and "philosophical differences" with fellow cabinet members as he sought to soften the blow of the coronavirus crisis on the economy.
"The Palace expresses its sincerest gratitude to former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia for his valuable contribution to the Philippine economy," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Roque said the Palace was expecting his replacement, acting director-general Karl Kendrick Chua, to "continue the economic momentum" set by Pernia.
"[We expect him to] work in close coordination with the other members of PRRD's economic managers, to prepare the Philippines for a new normal and mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," Roque said.
Before assuming the position of acting NEDA chief, Chua was undersecretary of the Department of Finance.
Earlier, the Asian Development Bank said Philippine economic growth may slow down significantly because of the impact of the disease, which has shuttered businesses under lockdown measures.
Pernia earlier had said he was "thankful" to have been tapped as NEDA Secretary when President Rodrigo Duterte came into power 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 in a statement issued Friday.