Cayetano: During a Global Crisis, Presence of the Government is Vital

Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday stressed the importance of giving financial aid to the people as Metro Manila braces for its third Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) on August 6.

“Pang-ahon, hindi pantawid lamang,” Cayetano said in a press conference held at the Mercado Del Lago in Taguig City on August 4 before the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) Sari-Saring Pag-Asa Event.

(The government needs to focus on financial support for the long run, not a mere band-aid solution.)

The BTS Sari-Saring Pag-Asa Event is a live virtual event that aims to provide aid to small business owners in order to give them a chance to recover their losses and continue thriving during the pandemic.

Cayetano was joined by Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu during the press conference.

Cayetano presented data that show that in the one year and four months (or 507 days) of community lockdown, 3.73 million Filipinos lost their jobs and over 2.7 million Filipinos are in poverty.

He also said 10% of micro-businesses closed down due to the pandemic.

Cayetano and his allies filed the 10K Ayuda Bill on February 1 with the aim of providing P10,000 in cash aid to every Filipino family to help them buy their daily needs and start a small business.

During the press conference, he said it is “not true” that government has no funds for further assistance, emphasizing that the government has always found ways to fund projects to address the pandemic such as Bayanihan 1 and 2.

He also expressed disappointment at the delayed response of the government in giving financial aid to Filipino families, saying the assistance should have been given as early as last Monday for a more effective and efficient ECQ.

“Last day na bukas, wala pang ayuda. Papalabasin pa natin ang mga tao [habang may ECQ],” he said.

(Tomorrow [Thursday] is the last day before the ECQ, yet there is still no financial assistance. We are going to require citizens to go out during ECQ just to get financial aid).

“I hope this is the last ECQ. If not, I hope it is well-planned,” he said, adding the government should not underestimate the hardships of the Filipino people.

Cayetano, who has been going around various areas in the country to distribute P10,000 in cash assistance to select individuals under his Sampung-Libong Pag-Asa initiative, called on the government to do more for the Filipinos.

“Let’s give them 10,000 pesos, not 10,000 excuses,” he said. ###