Malacañang recently signed the appointment of Deputy Director-General Emmanuel F. Esguerra as Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General. Esguerra replaces former NEDA chief Dr. Arsenio M. Balisacan who has been appointed by the President to head the newly established Philippine Competition Commission.

“We will build on what the agency has accomplished under former Secretary Balisacan and continue the ongoing programs and projects for the remaining months of the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016. We want a seamless transition towards the preparation of the successor development plan as the next administration settles in,” said Esguerra.

“Expect the continuation of the thrusts that we have focused on in the last few years: human capital development and investment in infrastructure to ensure the inclusivity of development,” the NEDA official added.

In his new capacity as Director-General of NEDA, Esguerra will also be the vice-chair of the NEDA Board, as well as head of its several interagency committees.

Concurrently, he will chair the boards of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center, Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS), Philippine Center for Economic Development (PCED), and the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute (PSRTI).

Esguerra served as the Co-Senior Official of the Philippines to the APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting last year, the Chair of the APEC Group on Services (GOS) and the APEC Policy Support Unit Board, and the Philippine acting minister during the Second APEC Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting last September 2015.

As the chair of the GOS, he championed the APEC Services Cooperation Framework, which was deemed to strengthen APEC’s work on services. The framework, proposed by the Philippines and adopted during the Leaders’ Summit in December 2015, is expected to benefit the country’s growing and vibrant services sector.

On secondment from the University of the Philippines Diliman where he is Professor of Economics, Esguerra is also the country’s lead negotiator for services in the Philippines-European Free Trade Association free trade agreement negotiations. He was appointed as NEDA Deputy Director-General in July 2012 and became head of the National Development Office (NDO) for Policy and Planning.

Esguerra holds a PhD from the Ohio State University, and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Economics from the University of the Philippines Diliman.