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COVID-19 recovery plan, nat'l ID, infra projects top list of new NEDA chief

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua on Tuesday said he will focus on crafting the Philippine recovery plan as his priority as chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Chua, who assumed office on April 21, said the creation of the recovery plan against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was among the marching orders given by Malacanang.

"The marching orders given to me upon my appointment, number one, is to prepare the recovery plan," he told reporters in a virtual briefing.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon from March 17 to April 13. It has since been extended to last until April 30 given the rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

"NEDA has already prepared the initial report for the IATF but in terms of actual detailed recovery plan, this is something we have to work out with other agencies," said Chua.

Aside from this, Chua said the NEDA will also look into the fast-tracking of the national identification system and the rollout of infrastructure projects after the ECQ.

"I had a discussion with the PSA Head Dennis Mapa and basically we agreed to use the next two months to finish the remaining procurement and preparation so that by June or July when ECQ is relaxed or modified, we will be able to begin again the registration of households so that is the plan," he said.

"The third one is basically to prepare and push through Build, Build, Build projects through NEDA's ICC the moment that we are allowed to implement and push them. For safety reasons we cannot now but we will prepare," added Chua.

Chua took over from former Secretary Ernesto Pernia, who left his post as the chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) last week.  Pernia said he resigned given the differences among other members of the economic cluster.

Pernia over the weekend said he wanted to continue serving the government in the fight against COVID-19, but his proposal to open up more economic activity was a "dissonant" voice in the Cabinet. —LDF, GMA News