The Manila Times : Biz groups welcome Balisacan as NEDA chief

By Anna Leah E. Gonzales | The Manila Times

BUSINESS groups on Tuesday welcomed the appointment of Arsenio Balisacan as the next head of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

In a text message to The Manila Times, the Makati Business Club (MBC), and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said Balisacan is a "good choice" to lead NEDA.

"We welcome the appointment of Sec[retary] Balisacan back to NEDA. His previous experience there and later at PCC (Philippine Competition Commission) bode well for long-term investment especially in PPPs (public-private partnerships) and other infrastructure, and for more competition across industries," said MBC Executive Director Coco Alcuaz.

Alcuaz said these are essential for creating jobs and more affordable goods and services.

"This is a good start for the new administration's economic team," he said.

Balisacan, who currently serves as the chairman of PCC, confirmed on Monday that he accepted President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s offer to be the next secretary of NEDA.

A former dean of the University of the Philippines School of Economics, Balisacan also served as secretary of NEDA under the late president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino 3rd.

"I believe he is a good choice. I've in the past dealt with him as commissioner of the competitive council," said PCCI President George Barcelon.

The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), meanwhile, said they are looking forward to collaborating with Balisacan on his return to NEDA.

"Dr. Arsenio Balisacan is one of the leading economists in the Philippines with whom AmCham worked closely in his previous positions as director general of NEDA and chairman of the Philippine Competition Commission," said AmCham Philippines Executive Director Ebb Hinchlifee.

Balisacan was the first chairman of the Philippine Statistics Authority Board and the Public-Private Partnership Center Board.

Prior to his appointment to NEDA, he was 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.