• Balisacan resigns as NEDA chief

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    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).

    “Taking on the job as the first chairperson of the PCC for me, 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 was created following the signing of the Republic Act 10667, otherwise known as the Philippine Competition Act on July 21, 2015.

    The commission is a quasi-judicial body that will enforce and implement the provisions of the Philippine Competition Act. The new law aims to provide a level-playing field in trade and industry.

    The PCC aims to protect consumer welfare and advance domestic and international trade and economic development.

    It has the mandate to conduct inquiries, investigate, 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, Balisacan will be bringing to 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.

    Prior to his appointment to NEDA, he was the dean and professor of the University of the Philippines School of Economics.

    He also served as the 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 in 2000, 2001, and 2003.

    Balisacan’s resignation will take effect on January 31, 2016. Deputy Director General Emmanuel Esguerra will serve as the Officer-in-Charge of NEDA. MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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