Marcos's NEDA may see a familiar face

·1 min read
Philippine Economic Planning Secretary NEDA's Arsenio Balisacan addresses the 2015 Sustainable Development Summit, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Philippine Economic Planning Secretary NEDA's Arsenio Balisacan addresses the 2015 Sustainable Development Summit, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wants Arsenio Balisacan back as director-general of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

Balisacan worked under the same position during late president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Aquino was a staunch critic of the Marcos Sr. regime that imprisoned 70,000, tortured 34,000, and killed 3,240 people, according to estimates of global human rights group Amnesty International.

In a 2018 video, Marcos Jr. briefly described Noynoy Aquino’s presidency as a “failed” one. He has also criticized Aquino in other aspects, even saying that he was to blame for “demoralization” among the ranks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The Aquino government's economic policies were described by independent think-tank IBON Foundation as “elitist”, even going as far as calling Aquino a “poster child” for “neoliberalism” – a system criticized by progressive groups as one that is not felt by the people.

From 2011 to 2015, the share of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (AFF) sector has generally decreased from 14.1 to 11 percent and job creation has contracted from 1.1 million to 638,000. Extreme poverty has also remained unchanged at 27 million in Q1 and Q2 of 2015.

Additionally, the net worth of the Top 40 richest Filipinos also increased under the Aquino administration by 10 percentage points from 2010 to 2015, while the net income of the Top 25 richest is equal to the income of 76 million Filipinos.

Despite these numbers, Marcos Jr. wants Aquino’s economist back.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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