^

Business

Pernia breaks silence on resignation

Czeriza Valencia - The Philippine Star
Pernia breaks silence on resignation
Interviewed on CNN Philippines Saturday night, the former chief economic planner said he is among those who pushed for the continuation of critical infrastructure projects like the Skyway connecting the North Luzon and South Luzon expressways, the rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3, and the continuation of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT) extension to Cavite.
STARGeremy Pintolo / File

MANILA, Philippines — Resigned Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia spoke on Saturday about some of his reasons for leaving his post in the thick of the government’s pandemic response, citing among others the disregard for his proposal to continue the construction of critical infrastructure projects under lockdown as well as his approach on a post-pandemic economic policy. 

Interviewed on CNN Philippines Saturday night, the former chief economic planner said he is among those who pushed for the continuation of critical infrastructure projects like the Skyway connecting the North Luzon and South Luzon expressways, the rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3, and the continuation of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT) extension to Cavite. 

“So far, in the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force), 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,” he said. 

The former chief economic planner announced his resignation late Friday effective on the same day. It was accepted by President Duterte and Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua was immediately appointed as acting secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). 

In his statement, Pernia cited “personal reasons” and “differences in development philosophy” with some fellow Cabinet members. 

At the time of his resignation, Pernia was chair of the IATF technical working group which was drafting an anticipatory and forward planning blueprint for a post-pandemic scenario. 

His resignation came at a time when he was vigorously pushing for a modified lockdown after the expiration of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine on April 30 to allow more businesses to reopen and workers to return to their jobs. He argued that another extension would be tough on the economy, which is already in danger of falling into a recession.  

Without elaborating, he also hinted that he locked horns with fellow Cabinet members over the resumption of economic activities under a modified lockdown. 

“In broader terms, my training in economics is that in a market economy like ours the private sector is the engine of growth. 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,”  Pernia said. 

“I seem to be a dissonant voice among others. I thought I should just quit.” 

There are speculations that Pernia’s resignation indicate a prolonged lockdown in Luzon. These are fueled further by President Duterte’s recent threat to impose a martial law-like crackdown in response to the violation of quarantine rules by some by having the police and military enforce social distancing measures. 

CABINET

ERNESTO PENIA

NEDA

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with