NEDA chief Pernia resigns amid coronavirus crisis

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines' top economist quit amid the coronavirus pandemic, citing "differences" in philosophy with other Cabinet officials.

"This is due partly to personal reasons and partly to differences in development philosophy with a few of my fellow Cabinet members," said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia in a statement on Friday, April 17.

Pernia said he made the decision after reflecting during Holy Week, as well as consultations with family and close colleagues.

"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 4 years," Pernia said.

The resignation comes just a week before the economic team is set to present its recommendations on the pandemic fight to the Cabinet.

Pernia was also part of the inter-agency task force, where he was delegated to craft policies to revive the economy post-coronavirus.

Under his watch, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) recommended mass testing to flatten the infection curve.

Pernia's post will be filled by Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua in an acting capacity–

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.