October 12, 2007

Has Neda gone nada?

(Alecks Pabico of PCIJ writes about the Neda of the past and of today and it isn't a pretty picture...thanks to Romy Neri. I don't think the agency will fare any better under Tito Santos who may be a Neda veteran but as we have read in the news lately, apparently lacks the same backbone as his predecessor.)

HE IS known by many Filipinos as the author of that economics textbook with the blue cover, but once upon a time Gerardo P. Sicat was the head of a powerful government agency that took care of preparing and coordinating the country’s socioeconomic and development plans. In fact, back then, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) was very powerful, particularly given its oversight function with respect to the plans of government agencies. Though by protocol, the NEDA director general was not a member of the Cabinet, the position was of Cabinet rank and the NEDA chief was even regarded as a primus inter pares (first among equals).

NEDA was created by then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972 by merging the Presidential Economic Staff (PES) and the National Economic Council (NEC). Sicat, who was appointed by Marcos as NEC chairperson in 1970, served as the newly organized NEDA's first director general. Recalled Benjamin Turiano, who joined NEDA at about the same time as Sicat and is now a director there: “That was the time when NEDA really had so much clout, when it was looked up to by the Cabinet.”

Read the rest at PCIJ

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