NEDA Sec. Arsenio Balisacan 

By Junex Doronio

IF THE SUGGESTION to appoint National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan — who also served as NEDA chief during the administration of late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III — as full-time Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary will be realized, this will demonstrate once more the spirit of UniTeam of the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Even Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the suggestion is a “sound proposal.”

“That’s a sound proposal. He has heard it many times. At tsaka si Arsi talaga yung ano niya ang undergrad niya ay Agriculture Economics,” Diokno said during his weekly chat with members of the media.

Presently, PBBM also sits as acting DA Secretary but critics have said there should be a regular full-time chief of the agency.

It can be recalled that during the 2022 presidential campaign, the UniTeam candidates vowed to get the “best and the brightest regardless of political color.”

Meanwhile, economist Cielito Habito said he personally believes Balisacan “is a good choice.”

“I know his capability. He has served as undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture and he knows what the problems in agriculture are. He is also regarded as perhaps the foremost expert in the country on rural poverty and poverty in general, so he knows what needs to be done,” Habito said.

Balisacan served as NEDA director-general under former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III from 2012 to 2016 and again under the PBBM administration.

“Of course, he’s an economist so he knows the right economics that should go behind policy-making and agriculture,” Habito added. (ai/mnm)