Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III expressed confidence in the ability of Congress to pass the P4.5 trillion 2021 Budget on time despite the leadership struggle at the House of Representatives, saying that the spending plan is critical for reviving the economy.
"I believe the entire Congress is aware that the enactment of the budget in a timely manner is essential to the recovery of the economy from the ravages of the contagion.
We are confident that they will do their duty," Mr. Dominguez said via Viber Friday.
The 2021 budget is 9.8% bigger than the 2020 edition and features stimulus measres to counteract the effects of the pandemic.
If not passed in time, Mr. Dominguez warned that the government may be forced to operate on a re-enacted budget in the new year, which he said would threaten the economic recovery.
"That will mean the bounce back of the Philippines' economy and the return to normal of Filipinos' income levels will be delayed. I am sure that the legislature will work hard to avoid that situation," he said.
The delayed passage of the 2019 budget was blamed for slowing economic growth after a re-enacted budget kept the government from spending freely on infrastructure.
The House is witnessing the breakdown of a power-sharing deal between Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Alan Q. Velasco, with the two sides subjecting themselves to reported mediation Tuesday by President Rodrigo R. Duterte over the terms of the deal, which had Mr. Cayetano stepping down in favor of Mr. Velasco.
Mr. Cayetano offered his resignation Wednesday. His resignation, however, was rejected by 184 legislators, a firm majority of the 304-member body.
"To paraphrase Vice Admiral Nelson before the Battle of Trafalgar, 'the country expects that everyone will do their duty,"' Mr. Dominguez said.
Economic managers expect the economy to return to 6.5-7.5%-growth next year. — Beatrice M. Laforga