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PIA Press Release

PGMA has full confidence in Neri - Ermita

Manila (10 July) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has full confidence in the competence of Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chair Romulo Neri to run the Social Security System (SSS), Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said yesterday.

Ermita made this statement in reply to a question regarding the President's decision to appoint Neri as administrator of the state-run pension agency.

Neri replaces Corazon dela Paz, whose resignation has been accepted by the President.

"The President will always make appointments in accordance with her confidence in the capability of the official that she is appointing…and Secretary Neri is competent in the place where the President has appointed him - to be SSS Administrator," Ermita said at his regular weekly press briefing in Malacanang yesterday afternoon.

Neri has wide experience in economic matters, having served as director general of the Congressional Planning and Budget Office (CPBO) of the House of Representatives.

In July 2005, he was named secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and, in Feb. 2005, as director general of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), also a Cabinet-level position.

"Secretary Neri is (also) a professor of Economics at the AIM (Asian Institute of Management). He's very qualified. He's an organization man, he has a very wide knowledge of the subject on the economy and therefore, it cannot be said Secretary Neri could be wanting in competence as far as running an office such as the SSS is concerned," Ermita said.

Meanwhile, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said Neri would assume his post as SSS administrator on Aug. 1.

Dureza added that aside from this new position, Neri will also head the newly-launched National Social Welfare Program (NSWP), which was created under Administrative Order (AO) 232.

The Cabinet-level NSWP will consolidate all the social welfare programs of the government. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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