Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan has resigned as director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to lead the newly created Philippine Competition Commission (PCC).
Balisacan’s resignation will take effect on January 31, 2016.
Deputy Director General Emmanuel Esguerra will serve as officer-in-charge of the NEDA.
“Taking on the job as the first chairperson of the PCC is a very compelling challenge that is hard to ignore. I see this as both a great responsibility and another privilege to steer the economy toward the right direction to realize all its growth potential,” Balisacan said in a statement issued on Monday.
The PCC, created after the signing of Republic Act 10667, or the Philippine Competition Act on July 21, 2015, is a quasi-judicial body that will seek to provide a level-playing field in trade and industry.
The PCC has also been tasked to protect consumer welfare and advance domestic and international trade and economic development.
The body has the power to conduct inquiries and penalize all forms of anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.
“We would want to address the problem of having a growing economy but with the benefits of such growth only for a small sector. Promoting fair and healthy competition among firms is a major factor in ensuring that the benefits of growth are properly shared,” Balisacan said.
Recognized as a leading economist in Asia, he is expected to bring to the PCC his expertise in development economics, international economics and applied welfare economics.
Balisacan has been an academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology since 2008 and an adjunct professor at the Australian National University since 2011.
The former dean and professor of the University of the Philippines School of Economics also served as director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, or Searca, from 2003 to 2009 and undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture from 2000 to 2003.