Former secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Ernesto Pernia has spoken up on the reasons behind his resignation.
In a statement published on April 17 on the NEDA website, Pernia shared his decision to leave his post as as Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning.
“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 announced. “This is due partly to personal reasons and partly to differences in development philosophy with a few of my fellow Cabinet members.
“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,” Pernia added.
In an interview with CNN Philippines on April 18, Pernia revealed how the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) rejected his proposals to continue during the enhanced community quarantine the construction of the Skyway connecting the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway, the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) extension to Cavite, as well as the fixing of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).
“So far, in the IATF, those proposals were thumbed down, but we hope that in the modified quarantine, they will be allowed because this is the best time for infrastructure when traffic is at a minimal level so when we go back to when things are normal, then people can expect easier traffic or lesser traffic congestion,” Pernia told CNN Philippines.
Pernia also spoke about how in such a critical time, the government should act in a way that best responds to needs of the Filipino people.
“In broader terms, my training in economics is that in a market economy like ours the private sector is the engine of growth,” Pernia said. “Besides public goods such as infra, education, human and development, yes there are differences in approaches and in such a critical time for the country it is best the government doesn’t get bogged down internally and just move to what’s best for the people.”
“When the orchestra is not well orchestrated, then you have a little problem,” Pernia added. “I seem to be a dissonant voice among others. I thought I should just quit.”
Pernia was appointed NEDA secretary by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.