Cayetano Paderanga Jr.: A great loss.

Cayetano W. Paderanga, Jr., who served as  Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority twice and was the         Development Academy of the Philippines’ Chairman the past three years, has passed away.  The well-loved executive succumbed to complications arising from a heart operation shortly before midnight on Friday, January 29, 2016.

Paderanga’s death was as swift as it was shocking.  He was just interviewed for a projected institutional video for the Academy barely two weeks before he entered the St. Luke’s Medical Center at Global City in Taguig, where he underwent a pre-scheduled triple bypass surgery on January 18.  He resigned as NEDA chief in 2012 reportedly because of health reasons, but he rejoined the DAP shortly after that as the representative of the Office of the President of the Philippines to the Board of Trustees, where he became its Chair.

‘A great loss’

“He is a great loss to his family, the DAP, the Philippine government, and the country,” DAP President Antonio D. Kalaw Jr. said.  “A true statesman, devoted husband, and a wise and funny boss, we will always appreciate him for his many accomplishments. He will, for example, be remembered for reviving the Career Executive Service Development Program, which is now more popularly known as the Public Management Development Program.  As an educator, he endeavored to elevate the academic standards of the DAP through the strengthening of the Academic Council, wherein he also became Chair.  He was an excellent mentor who could state in simple language the most complex economic concepts.”

Kalaw said that Paderanga “strengthened the DAP Board of Trustees into a working board,” saying that he also called for the review of operating and administrative systems in an effort to improve the Academy’s way of doing things.

Many accomplishments

He then enumerated some of the fallen Chairman’s many accomplishments at the Academy.  “He pursued the expansion of international relations,” PADK said.  “He pushed for the study of public sector human resources management and development.  He spearheaded the study on safer settlements to ascertain which other places in the Philippines are safe to accommodate the establishment of human settlements considering local resources, climate change, development and population issues.

“It is sad that many DAP participants will no longer have the privilege to listen to his lectures in macro economics.  Those of us who worked closely with him will surely miss his wit, his intellect, and his amiable presence, as well as frankness,” Kalaw stressed.  “The DAP is left with a gaping void because of Chairman Paderanga’s passing.”

Tributes from far and wide

Other tributes also poured in from various sectors after news of Paderanga’s demise spread.

The late Chairman in one of his last pubic appearances at the Academy speaks at the Christmas party in December.


Tita Valderama, professor at The Manila Times College who covered Malacañang during the first Aquino administration, remembered the late NEDA chief for simplifying economic issues when facing the media.

“Cayetano ‘Dondon’ Paderanga Jr was one of the Cory Aquino Cabinet members we liked talking to because of his simple explanations about complicated economic issues/data, and I remember him most for, well, his cute smile, as he patiently answered our questions,” Valderama said on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Port Calls, a trade publication of the maritime and ports sector, credited Paderanga for helping solve the port congestion problem of 2014.

Port congestion solved

“Dr Paderanga… was instrumental in the crafting of the Philippine Logistics and Multimodal Transportation roadmap.  He also helped put the port congestion issue front and center by calling the attention of Secretary Rene Almendras in June 2014,” the publication said on Facebook.  “A week after the call, the Cabinet Cluster on Port Decongestion headed by Almendras was created.”

Former Akbayan Party-list Rep. Walden Bello, on the other hand, remembered Paderanga as a “dedicated professor and conscientious public servant.”  Bello said their being on opposite sides of the political fence did not detract from his estimation of Paderanga’s worth.

“We were on opposite sides of the neoliberal divide, but he was a dedicated professor, conscientious public servant, and solid analyst.  May he rest in peace,” the left-leaning leader said.

 Extreme sadness

Forbes Philippines managing editor Lala Rimando, a business journalist close to Paderanga, also expressed extreme sadness at Paderanga’s death.

“Goodbye, sir Cayetano Paderanga Jr.  I hope and pray for your eternal rest in heaven.  Your public service was exemplary, your loyalty honorable, your ethics admirable,” Rimando wrote.  “I am one of the thousands who have been blessed by your kindness and patience, your generosity, gentleness and humility.”

Paderanga is survived by his wife Delia and two children.  An accounting graduate of La Salle in 1968, he finished his graduate studies in industrial economics at the Center for Communication and Research (now University of Asia and the Pacific) in 1972 and earned his doctorate in economics in 1979 at Stanford University.  He then joined the University of the Philippines faculty and also had teaching stints at the University of Western Ontario   and Kobe University in Japan.  He was a Fulbright-Hayes Fellow in 1972 and was a Visiting Fellow at Yale University in 1983.

 NEDA Director-General twice

Paderanga first became NEDA Director-General and Secretary of Socio-Economic Planning under the late President Cory Aquino from 1990-1992 and occupied the same position when President Benigno Aquino III came into office in 2010.

Paderanga, in probably his last official function, presides over the short program following a courtesy call by a visiting Korean group.

He was also a member of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of the Philippines between 1990 and 1999, was executive director for the Philippines and five other countries at the Asian Development Bank in 2001, and Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture.

Among the many other lofty positions he held included those as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Philippine National Oil Company, President of the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc., Director of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Director of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation.

A teacher at heart

But it was in teaching that Paderanga found his calling, always going back to the academe to share his vast knowledge with young people even as he held various responsibilities in both the government and private sector.

“Most people knew him in an official capacity; he served two (Philippine) Presidents in a Cabinet position, (and) was a member of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank.  However, at every opportunity, he went back to teach economics at the University of the Philippines.  He was a teacher at heart, beloved by his students,” his cousin-in-law Butch Garcia said.  “For those of us who knew him, let us cry for ourselves, our loss, say a prayer, then celebrate his all-too-short life and all the good and happiness that he shared.”

No better words, indeed, befit a man who shared his talent with so many, yet, has ironically left them to draw from their own now that he’s gone. – Bert A. Ramirez