5 Things to know about NEDA Chief Ernesto Pernia

Do you know that NEDA Chief Pernia is a golfer? 

Aside from his long stint at the University of the Philippines as a professor of economics and in the Asian Development Bank where he was Lead Economist, little is known about Dr. Ernesto M. Pernia or Ernie, as he is called by close friends and peers. The new chief executive of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), who admittedly likes the private life, is relatively reserved when compared with his contemporaries in the Duterte cabinet. Here are a few things you might not have known about NEDA’s recently appointed head.

1. He was a former seminarian. Before graduating with an Economics degree from the University of San Carlos and eventually getting a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, USA and a PhD from the University of California Berkeley, Dr. Pernia attended the San Carlos Major Seminary in Cebu and the UST Central Seminary. When asked why he chose to change paths, Dr. Pernia said he felt like wasn’t cut out to become a priest.

2. He is married to a fellow academic. His wife, Dr. Elena E. Pernia, is the current Dean of the College of Mass Communication at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on communication research, data analysis, and communication project planning, among others.

3. He leads an active lifestyle. If he’s not burrowed in his staid-looking office room, Dr. Pernia would probably be in a golf course. Before being sworn into office, he regularly played golf for pleasure and exercise, making about 13,000 steps a day (above the prescribed 10,000 steps, he noted). He also makes sure to reserve a portion of his weekend for swimming.

4. He likes reading. In fact, Dr. Pernia sees the long hours he puts in the job as one of the least exciting things about being NEDA chief as he is unable to do the activities he usually did, like reading. In terms of subject, he prefers history and economics books, although he also reads short stories and novels.

5. His mantra is In medio stat virtus. The Latin expression, which originated from the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle, means Virtue stands in the middle. Dr. Pernia believes in moderation when doing anything.