MANILA - One of the Philippines' most influential business groups on Sunday said it welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's call on Congress to hold a special session this week to tackle the 2021 budget.
The Management Association of the Philippines said Congress' move to suspend its session a week before its recess deprived the House of fully deliberating upon the 2021 national budget.
"This unfortunate situation makes probable the repeat of the impasse between the Senate and the House that attended the 2019 budget," said MAP president Francis Lim in a statement.
Lim said the delayed passage of the budget then caused "massive damage" to the economy.
"We note with concern the observation of Rep. Stella Quimbo, a respected economist, that a re-enacted budget will exact a huge toll on the government’s coronavirus response and the economy. Needless to emphasize, this will cause further suffering to our people."
MAP said it thanks the President for calling a special session of Congress from Oct. 13 to 16 and certifying the budget bill as urgent.
"We call on our politicians to think of country first and subordinate their personal political interests to the public good. Your duty as public servants demands no less and anything short is an extreme disservice to our people,” MAP said.
Last year, the economy grew at its slowest pace in 4 years, pre-pandemic, after several months of delay in the enactment of the P3.7-trillion national budget.
Economic managers see the economy shrinking by 5.5 percent this year due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
The government is banking on heavy public sector spending next year to stimulate the economy.