Politics not basis for economic decisions: Aquino
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Political convenience does not influence economic decisions under the Aquino administration.
This was the main message of President Benigno Aquino III in his speech at the 40th anniversary of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) on Tuesday, January 29.
"There have been times when Neda mandate was subverted in favor of pursuing intentions that were less than honorable. No longer are decisions based on political convenience or self-aggrandizement. Now, decisions are made in a rational and just manner—a reflection of our commitment to good governance, which recognizes the need for careful planning and the prioritization of our goals," the President said.
He was echoing the earlier message of Neda Director General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan who spoke about controversial projects that Neda had approved, including the National Broadband Network (NBN)-ZTE deal.
In his own speech, Balisacan said these projects have cast doubts on the credibility of the institution, prompting the current leaders to strive to improve its processes, particularly in project approval.
Notoriously referred to as the NBN-ZTE deal, the notorious project aimed at giving broadband access nationwide, is one of the corruption allegations hurled against former Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) and former Neda chief Romulo Neri. The case against Mrs. Arroyo is now lodged at the Sandiganbayan.
"Through the years, we have had our highs and lows as an institution. There have been times in the past when Neda's integrity had been compromised by those whose intentions were less than honorable."
"These experiences have served as wake-up calls for us at NEDA to re-examine ourselves, and put in place policies and reforms to more uphold the values that have shaped the foundation of our institution," Balisacan said.
The Neda is the main socio-economic planning agency of the government. - Rappler.com