Prior to his appointment as the first Chairman of the Philippine Competition Commission in January 2016, he served as the Economic Planning Secretary in the Cabinet of President Benigno S. Aquino III and, concurrently, the Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) where he carried out policies and programs to facilitate inclusive economic growth, employment creation, and poverty reduction. In his capacity as NEDA Director-General, he served as the first Chairperson of the Boards of the Philippine Statistics Authority and the Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines.
Previous to his appointment in NEDA, he was the Dean and Professor of the University of the Philippines School of Economics and Executive Director of the Philippine Center for Economic Development. Before joining the UP faculty in 1987, he was a Research Fellow at the East West Center in Honolulu and Economist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.
His professional practice included periods of leadership roles in poverty reduction campaigns and agricultural sector. These involved appointments as Undersecretary for Policy and Planning of the Department of Agriculture in 2000-2001 and 2003, Director-Chief Executive of the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), and President of the Human Development Network in 2003-2009.
He has authored and co-edited seven books, published over 100 academic papers and book chapters on various development issues, particularly on the Philippines and East Asia, and won numerous academic and professional awards. He is a lifetime member of the National Academy of Science and Technology, the country’s peer-elected group of select individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and technology.
Chairman Balisacan holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Hawaii and an MS degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of the Philippines Los Baños.