Aquino appoints Esguerra as acting NEDA chief

MOVING UP. Former UP professor Emmanuel Esguerra now holds the roles of Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Director-General of NEDA concurrently. Photo from UP School of Economics

MOVING UP. Former UP professor Emmanuel Esguerra now holds the roles of Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Director-General of NEDA concurrently.

Photo from UP School of Economics

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Malacañang officially appointed Emmanuel Esguerra as Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Acting Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Monday, February 1.

His appointment comes after former NEDA Director-General Arsenio Balisacan  accepted an appointment to head the newly-formed Philippine Competition Commission.  

"We will build on what the agency has accomplished under former Secretary Balisacan and continue the ongoing programs and projects for the remaining months of the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016We want a seamless transition towards the preparation of the successor development plan as the next administration settles in," Esguerra said in a statement.

"Expect the continuation of the thrusts that we have focused on in the last few years: human capital development and investment in infrastructure to ensure the inclusivity of development."

Before this new post, Esguerra served as Deputy Director-General of the NEDA and headed the National Development Office (NDO) for Policy and Planning.

He was an Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines (UP) School of Economics, where he was also chairperson of the economics department prior to his appointment to NEDA in July 2012.

Esguerra is the latest in a string of socioeconomic planning secretaries coming from the UP economics faculty, a line which includes his immediate predecessor Balisacan, Dante Canlas, and the recently deceased Cayetano Paderanga Jr.

The new acting Director-General has a strong academic background on policies affecting the Philippine economy, including employment, human development, health, fiscal health, and rural poverty, among others. 

He is a cum laude Economics graduate of UP and has a postgraduate degree from the Ohio State University. He has also written several books, book chapters, and academic work on socioeconomic issues.

NEDA has seen its budget increased by 8% this year as it aims to push through with public-private partnerships projects and sustain economic momentum in the twilight of the Aquino administration.

The agency is also in the process of formulating a long-term plan for the country’s economic development, to be called "Filipino 2040." ­– Rappler.com