Esguerra appointed acting NEDA chief

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NationaL Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Deputy Director General Emmanuel Esguerra has been named acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, replacing Arsenio Balisacan who will be moving to the newly-established Philippine Competition Commission.

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Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Monday said President Benigno Aquino 3rd had approved the appointment, with the former NEDA chief’s resignation having taken effect last January 31.

“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 2011-2016. We want a seamless transition towards the preparation of the successor development plan as the next administration settles in,” Esguerra said in a statement issued by the NEDA.

“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,” he added.

In his new capacity, Esguerra will also become the vice chairman of the NEDA Board as well as head of several interagency committees. Concurrently, he will chair the boards of the Philippine Statistics Authority, Public-Private Partnership Center, Philippine Institute of Development Studies, Philippine Center for Economic Development and the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute.

Esguerra served as co-senior official of the Philippines to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials’ Meeting last year, chairman of the APEC Group on Services (GOS) and the APEC Policy Support Unit Board, and the Philippine acting minister during the Second APEC Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting last September 2015.

The NEDA said that as GOS chairman, Esguerra championed the APEC Services Cooperation Framework, proposed by the Philippines and adopted during the Leaders’ Summit.

On secondment from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman where he is an economics professor, Esguerra is also the country’s lead negotiator for services in the
Philippines-European Free Trade Association free trade agreement negotiations.

He was appointed NEDA deputy director-general in July 2012 and became head of the National Development Office for Policy and Planning.

Esguerra holds a PhD from the Ohio State University, and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Economics from UP Diliman.

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