DTI chief’s exit won’t hamper APEC preparation
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The unexpected resignation of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo will not set back government preparations for hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation this year, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said yesterday.

“Secretaries (Cesar) Purisima, Domingo and (Arsenio) Balisacan and all members of the Cabinet’s economic cluster are working as a unified and cohesive team together with Executive Secretary (Paquito) Ochoa Jr. and the national organizing committee to make our APEC hosting a success,” he said. 

Purisima heads the Department of Finance while Balisacan sits as secretary-general of the National Economic and Development Authority.

Domingo is set to chair the SME ministerial meeting in Iloilo next week.

But Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Alfredo Yao is not as positive, pointing out that the resignation might disrupt some business activities, considering the DTI’s principal role in the coming APEC Leaders’ Summit in November.

“It will affect and slow down something in the government and business community. There will be questions as to who will decide in DTI and there will again be adjustments. Hopefully his undersecretaries can step up. He is a very good secretary,” he said.

Although Coloma confirmed that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) chief filed a resignation letter, he said President Aquino is yet to act on it. But other sources said the resignation has been accepted.

Reliable sources said Domingo, who served as DTI chief since Aquino assumed office in mid-2010, would stay in office only until Oct. 5 this year.

Without elaborating, Makati Business Club executive director Peter Angelo Perfecto said Domingo’s exit is not good for the business community right now, although Henry Schumacher, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines vice president for external affairs, said the DTI currently has a good roster of undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to compensate for Domingo’s absence.

“They will be able to keep DTI and the Board of Investments running,” Schumacher said. He cited Philippine Economic Zone Authority chief Lilia De Lima, who “knows what she is doing and will continue being one of the biggest assets of the country.”

Other business groups opted not to comment until Domingo’s resignation is confirmed.

Domingo has remained mum on the issue and has yet to answer calls and text messages.

“He should have a very good reason. There should be a valid reason for his resignation. If that is true, I think it is his health,” Yao said, adding that the DTI chief previously complained of diabetes.

“So I believe it could be his health and not just burnout. If he’s burned out, then he should have quit two, three years ago,” Yao also said.

Domingo, who has never figured in a controversy, was with Aquino during the 23rd Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) General Meeting at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City on Sept. 11, the day he was reported to have resigned. He has been leading government efforts to attract more investments in the country, among other tasks. He is also one of the regular companions of the President in the latter’s trips abroad.

Coloma said Domingo’s resignation was “under consideration” and that Ochoa “is awaiting word from the President regarding this matter.”

 

ACIRC ALFREDO YAO ALTHOUGH COLOMA AQUINO ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION BALISACAN BOARD OF INVESTMENTS BUT PHILIPPINE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY DOMINGO
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