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PNoy's NEDA chief Balisacan named to old post in Marcos Cabinet

Presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday said he has tapped Arsenio Balisacan to again lead the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

Marcos disclosed this during a press conference at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City.

"I have also tapped an old friend who's also formerly in this position, Arse Balisacan, who is our former NEDA and I've asked him to return to NEDA. I've worked with him extensively at the time when I was governor, we have very similar thinking in that regard kaya't malakas ang loob ko (I am confident), I know he's very competent, I know his policies are policies that will be for the betterment of our country," Marcos said.

"For employment, for the development of our economy, nag-usap kami ng ilang oras at mukha namang tumutugma ang aming pag-iisip patungkol sa approach natin dito sa darating na mga taon when it comes to economic managers..." Marcos said.

(We've talked for hours and I think we have the same thoughts on our approach when it comes to the country's economy.)

Balisacan previously led NEDA under the administration of the late President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, before moving to the Philippine Competition Commission where he has served as its pioneer chairperson since January 2016.

Returning to old post

"After six years leading the Philippine Competition Commission, I will join the new Cabinet, mindful of the immense work needed to accelerate economic recovery and post-recovery development," Balisacan said in a separate statement.

"In returning to a post I have previously held, we rely on experience and judicious reckoning of socioeconomic issues to build stronger foundations for a more robust, more inclusive, and more resilient Philippine economy," he continued.

Balisacan also noted his tenure in the PCC as the "most fulfilling," noting that he helped build the agency from scratch.

Under its mandate, NEDA assists in coordinating the formulation of national and sectoral policies, plans and programs; monitor macroeconomic and sectoral performances; and conduct economic and development studies.

"In fulfilling this new role, I look forward to working with the economic team and the private sector to bring back the country to its pre-pandemic high-growth trajectory, deliver rapid poverty reduction, and reduce socioeconomic inequality," he said.

DepEd, DILG portfolios

Presumptive Vice President Sara Duterte and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos have accepted the designations to lead the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), respectively.

Earlier, the Marcos camp disclosed that former Labor secretary Benny Laguesma and Susan "Toots" Ople were offered to be part of the new administration.

Laguesma was asked to lead the Department of Labor and Employment while Ople was asked to be the head of the Department of Migrant Workers.

"My nominee for DOLE is going to be the former secretary Laguesma to return and we've asked help from Toots Ople to organize already the Department of Migrant Workers so that when the time comes we are mandated to start operations, we are ready. Hindi na tayo magaadjust, hindi na tayo magpapalit (We will no longer adjust, we will no longer wait)..." Marcos said.

In a text message, incoming Executive Secretary Atty. Vic Rodriguez confirmed that Ople, Laguesma and Balisacan have accepted the offers to be part of the Marcos administration. —KBK/RSJ, GMA News