Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said the 2022 National Budget should be crafted based on the needs of the people, prioritizing the most urgent issue of COVID-19.
“Napakaimportante na dapat nakatutok din tayo sa most urgent and most important, buhay at kabuhayan,” Cayetano said in an interview with radio station DZRH on September 3, 2021.
(It’s important to focus on the most urgent matters of health and livelihood.)
“Buhay meaning health physical or mental health, at kabuhayan. Syempre kung ‘di ka naman mamatay sa COVID, mamamatay ka naman sa gutom.So y’un ang dapat tutukan ng ating government at leaders,” he said.
(When we say health, we mean physical or mental health, and livelihood, because without the latter, it would be difficult to survive. Hence, these are the issues that our government leaders should address).
In an interview with DZRH on September 3, Cayetano said while processes such as Congressional hearings and other investigations will bring out the truth, it is important not to lose sight of more pressing matters.
“Kailangan mo talagang hukayin at makita ang katotohanan (We really have to dig deeper so the truth emerges),” he said.
With the proposed 2022 National Budget pending revisions and approvals from the legislative department, Cayetano urged the House of Representatives and the Senate to dissect and realign the budget so as to address COVID-19.
He said he hopes to avoid a situation in which the budget becomes an “election budget” rather than a “defeat COVID” budget.
“Ano ba ‘tong election budget? Una, y’ung mga lugar lang ng kakampi mo kung saan kukuha ng boto ang malaki ang pondo. Pangalawa, if it’s a choice between a very effective program of the government na makakatulong sa lahat, and a program na hindi epektibo pero makakakuha ng boto, ay pinipili y’ung makakakuha ng boto,” he said.
(What is an election budget? First, it is a large allocated budget only for places in favor of certain allies. Second, it’s a budget that chooses a less effective program just for the purpose of gaining the votes of a specific constituency).
Cayetano said more than passing and approving the budget on time, work should be done to ensure it is of good quality and addresses the most important issues of the time.