Speaker Martin Romualdez (File photo)

MANILA – Leaders of the House of Representatives on Thursday met with Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno to discuss the Marcos administration's 2022-2028 Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) that aims to attain short-term macro-fiscal stability while remaining supportive of the economic recovery and promoting medium-term fiscal sustainability.

Speaker Martin Romualdez said Diokno invited the House leaders to his new office to discuss ways to forge tighter coordination and smooth working relationship between the Executive and the Legislative departments.

Romualdez said the House leaders reiterated the chamber’s decision, as contained in House Concurrent Resolution No. 2, to extend full support to the six-year fiscal plan.

"We agree on one thing: the MTFF should be a fiscal consolidation and resource mobilization plan. The objective: in the short run, keep the macroeconomy stable and provide adequate social services; in the medium term, generate “more jobs, quality jobs, green jobs," he said.

Romualdez was accompanied in that meeting by House Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe and the economic team in the House of Representatives, led by Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Joey Salceda, and Appropriations Chairman Zaldy Co.

"Our discussion with Secretary Diokno was a fruitful one, and we hope to conduct future consultations with him in the days to come," he said.

On Monday, the House adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 2, supporting the MTFF that would serve as an "anchor" for the annual spending and financing plan of the national government and for Congress when preparing the annual budget.

Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo, in her sponsorship speech, said the MTFF is a comprehensive document that outlines a holistic and comprehensive policy direction for the country, both in the immediate and medium-term.

Quimbo said the MTFF contains an 8-point socio-economic agenda aimed toward immediate job creation and poverty reduction.

She also emphasized the need to address the rising prices of commodities, as well as the "scarring" caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

"This is exactly the objective of the MTFF: in the short run, keep the macroeconomy stable and provide adequate social services; in the medium term, generate 'more jobs, quality jobs, green jobs'... Ang panawagan ng marami: hanapbuhay na maglalagay ng pagkain sa mesa at mag-aangat ng pamilya mula sa kahirapan (Many are calling for jobs that would bring food on the table and uplift the lives of families from poverty)," she said.

The framework specifically lays down near-term socioeconomic agenda which will continue to implement risk-managed interventions in areas of food security, transport and logistics, energy, fiscal management, health, education, social protection, and bureaucratic efficiency, to ensure the unimpeded and adequate delivery of social services, mitigate inflation pressures, accelerate economic recovery, and address economic scarring.

It also aims for medium-term socio-economic agenda which will create more, high-quality, and green jobs for Filipinos.

“The recent past and the Covid-19 pandemic has beset the macroeconomic environment with challenges and a series of external shocks. Inflation has accelerated in recent months due largely to significant increases in international prices of oil and key commodities,” the resolution stated.

“Still, the economic growth momentum remains firm as demonstrated by the strong 2022 first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 8.3 percent. However, the recovery process from the impact of the pandemic is still ongoing amid elevated uncertainty in the international economic environment," it added.

Romualdez said the legislative agenda shall be guided by targets set in the 2022-2028 MTFF which are: (1) 6.5-7.5 percent real GDP growth in 2022; 6.5-8 percent real GDP growth annually between 2023 to 2028; (2) 9 percent or a single-digit poverty rate by 2028; (3) 3 percent National Government deficit to GDP ratio by 2028; (4) Less than 60 percent National Government debt-to-GDP ratio by 2025; (5) At least USD4,256 gross national income per capita to attain upper middle-income status. (PNA)