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Duterte picks old school Ernesto Pernia over Joey Salceda for NEDA. Did guv’s support for Poe cost him the job?

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Has incoming President Rodrigo Duterte forgotten his word about appointing Albay Governor Joey Salceda as secretary general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) or he just found someone better for the post?

University of the Philippines School of Economics professor Ernesto Pernia on Sunday (May 22) said he has “unofficially” accepted Duterte’s offer to become socioeconomic planning secretary.

A little over two months ago, in March, Duterte said he will appoint Salceda as NEDA chief should he become president.

The then-presidential candidate’s statement gave rise to speculation that Salceda will bolt the Liberal Party to join Duterte’s camp.

However, the governor chose instead to support the candidacy of Senator Grace Poe for president, and continued his electoral bid as congressman as an independent bet.

Even after Salceda backed Poe, Duterte said he is still keen on appointing the governor to the NEDA should he win in the elections, saying the Bicolano politiko has the talent to be part of his economic team.

Pernia, who graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1976 with a Ph.D. in Economic Demography, said the Duterte administration will focus on reducing poverty, regional and rural development, and improving education and healthcare services.