MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has tapped Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua as acting secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Malacañang announced on Friday. The announcement came shortly after Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia confirmed that he stepped down from office due to “personal reasons” and “differences in development philosophy with a few of (his) fellow Cabinet members”.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte had already accepted Pernia’s resignation.
“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has accepted the resignation of Socioeconomic Secretary Ernesto Pernia who resigned due to personal reasons; and has appointed Department of Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua as Acting NEDA Secretary,” Roque said.
Pernia’s resignation came amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.
Before resigning from office, Pernia was among the Cabinet officials tasked to assess the national government’s response to Covid-19 outbreak and craft policies to address the health crisis in the country.
Pernia served as Socioeconomic Planning secretary and NEDA director general since the start of Duterte’s term in July 2016.
Pernia, in a separate statement, said his decision to resign from post came after consultations with family and colleagues, as well as some “reflection” during Holy Week.
“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 said.
Pernia’s replacement, Chua, served as the chief economist and undersecretary for the proposed Strategy, Economics, and Results Group of the Department of Finance (DOF).
Chua, as DOF official, helps the government achieve its ten‐point socioeconomic agenda by providing strategic advice to the Finance Secretary and the Cabinet Economic Development Cluster, leading to the preparation of economic policy research in aid of priority reforms, and shepherding priority reforms from incubation to implementation.
Prior to joining the government, Chua was the senior country economist of the World Bank office in Manila. (PNA)