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Philippines' Duterte calls special parliament sitting to seal 2021 budget

MANILA, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday called a special session of parliament for Oct. 13-16 to finalise a 4.5 trillion peso ($93 billion) budget for next year to help the battered economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

It would be the penultimate budget under the single, six-year term of the firebrand leader, whose allies dominate both chambers of congress.

The special session to discuss the 2021 national budget will be held over four days next week, Harry Roque, Duterte’s spokesman, said in a statement.

Next year’s budget would fund government projects to combat the novel coronavirus and rebuild the economy, Roque added.

Before the pandemic, the Philippine economy was among the fastest growing in Asia. But the government expects gross domestic product to shrink 5.5% this year, before rebounding to 6.5%-7.5% growth in 2021.

Duterte on Thursday told the lower chamber, which is on break until November, to end a leadership row and pass a budget.

The budget ministry initially proposed a 4.3-trillion-peso budget for 2021, then increased it to 4.5 trillion pesos upon submitting it to congress. ($1 = 48.37 Philippine pesos) (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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