Not me --Dominguez on Pernia's resignation

April 19, 2020
Carlos Dominguez III

Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III has decried allegations naming him as the reason behind the resignation of Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Ernesto Pernia.

“I can’t imagine why,” he said when asked for his reaction on talks regarding this.

Pernia, who was also the National Economic and Development Authority director general, attributed his decision “partly to personal reasons and partly to differences in development philosophy with a few of my fellow Cabinet members”.

He thanked President Duterte for making him a part of his Cabinet “for the past nearly four years” and the NEDA officials and employees who helped him in “crafting and pursuing the goals of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and the Ambisyon Natin 2040”.

“I leave NEDA knowing that we have initiated and implemented meaningful changes that will help the country overcome these challenging times and on to a higher growth trajectory,” he said.

Pernia was replaced by Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua, who has been appointed by President Duterte as NEDA acting secretary.

Dominguez said Chua, who led the Department of Finance’s tax reform campaign, would not have a concurrent position at the NEDA and DoF. 

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte had already accepted Pernia’s resignation.

“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has accepted the resignation of Socioeconomic Secretary Ernesto Pernia who resigned due to personal reasons; and has appointed Department of Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua as Acting NEDA Secretary,” Roque said.

Pernia’s resignation came amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in the country.

Before resigning from office, Pernia was among the Cabinet officials tasked to assess the national government’s response to Covid-19 outbreak and craft policies to address the health crisis in the country.

Pernia served as Socioeconomic Planning secretary and NEDA director general since the start of Duterte’s term in July 2016.

Pernia, in a separate statement, said his decision to resign from post came after consultations with family and colleagues, as well as some “reflection” during Holy Week.

“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 four years,” he said.

Pernia’s replacement, Chua, served as the chief economist and undersecretary for the proposed Strategy, Economics, and Results Group of the DoF.

Chua, as DoF official, helps the government achieve its ten‐point socioeconomic agenda by providing strategic advice to the Finance secretary and the Cabinet Economic Development Cluster, leading to the preparation of economic policy research in aid of priority reforms, and shepherding priority reforms from incubation to implementation.

Prior to joining the government, Chua was the senior country economist of the World Bank office in Manila.