Philippine Senate approves 2021 budget to kick-start pandemic-hit economy

28-Nov-2020 Intellasia | Xinhua | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The Philippine Senate Thursday approved on third and final reading the proposed 4.5 trillion pesos (roughly 93.5 billion US dollars) 2021 national budget to kick-start the pandemic-hit economy.

Twenty-two senators voted to approve the country’s 2021 general Appropriations Bill with no abstentions or negative votes.

The approval paves the way for the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene in a bicameral conference committee to reconcile their versions.

“Hopefully, inside the line items of this budget, our people see that indeed there is a path out of this pandemic and recession and that we are not without hope,” Senate Committee on Finance chair Senator Sonny Angara said in plenary.

Senate President vicente Sotto earlier said that Congress hopes to submit the 2021 bill for the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature before the legislative branch goes on a break by mid-December.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) of the Philippines said the 2021 budget aims to sustain the government efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The government aims to boost the healthcare systems, ensure food security, increase investments in public and digital infrastructure, and help communities cope with the impact of the pandemic.

The DBM said theme “Reset, Rebound and Recover: Investing for resiliency and sustainability” this year is “consistent with the Duterte administration’s goal of saving lives and protecting communities while making different sectors of the economy stronger and more agile.”

According to the DBM, the 2021 budget is 9.9 percent higher than his year’s budget of 4.1 trillion pesos (roughly 85.2 billion dollars) national budget and equivalent to 21.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Due to the pandemic, the Philippine economy shrank 11.5 percent in the third quarter of 2020, marking the first time in 35 years that the country’s GDP contracted for three straight quarters.

The Philippines is gradually easing the restrictions to allow more people to safely return to work while complying with the minimum health standards. The government expects the country’s economy to bounce back in 2021.


Category: Philippines

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