MANILA – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) hosted on Monday night a dinner for its former secretaries, honoring their contributions to the agency’s role of mapping the country’s socioeconomic development.

The dinner dubbed as “Secretaries’ Night” was part of the activities lined up for NEDA’s 45th founding anniversary celebrations that will culminate in a day-long event on January 24.

Among the former officials gracing Monday’s dinner were Cesar Virata, Solita “Winnie” Monsod, Cielito Habito, Felipe Medalla, and Romulo Neri.

A five-minute video paying tribute to the achievements and accomplishments of 15 former NEDA secretaries since 1973 was shown during the dinner held at the Executive Lounge.

“You are coming to your hearth and home of bygone years. Now, you see new faces, the rehabilitation of this building, and some changes we have instituted,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in his opening remarks.

NEDA, the country’s premier social and economic development planning and policy coordinating body, was created in 1973 when the Constitution was ratified and promulgated. Its founding, however, dated back to 1935 when the Commonwealth government created the National Economic Council, which was tasked to advise the government on economic and financial matters.

“This year, you will witness so many flagship projects breaking ground. A year and half was spent for project processing and approval, so most of these projects are ready for implementation this year,” Pernia told the former officials, noting how the streamlined membership of the Investment Coordination Committee and the NEDA Board have accelerated the processing and approval of projects.

NEDA is celebrating its anniversary through activities including a photo contest, a trade fair, an exhibit of photos and past development plans, among others.