Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said addressing the challenges in all aspects of health – be it physical, mental, financial, and spiritual – is still a priority in 2022 as the country transitions from the current administration to the next one.
“Magkakaroon din tayo ng transition dahil magkakaroon ng bagong Pangulo, isa ring challenge ito, pero y’un din ang haharapin niya eh, y’ung health ng ating mga kababayan, ” Cayetano said in a media interview on December 31, 2021.
(We’ll be transitioning to a new administration this year and the challenges concerning the physical, mental, financial, and spiritual health of Filipinos are aspects they need to be prepared to address.)
He said the first challenge is maintaining the physical health of the citizens since the COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting the country.
“First our physical health, ‘wag magka-COVID, at y’ung dati nang may sakit, kung pa’no to get the medical care. Forty-five percent ng mga barangay sa Pilipinas walang primary health care, walang barangay health centers. So challenge ito,” Cayetano said.
(First, our physical health, how we can avoid COVID, or even seek medical care for those who have it. Forty-five percent of the barangays in the Philippines don’t have barangay health centers which give primary healthcare services. So it’s really a challenge.)
Cayetano also said the country needs to ramp up its vaccination program, particularly for booster shots as the threat of the Omicron variant continues to grow.
“Sa ibang bansa, ‘pag sinabi mong ‘fully vaccinated,’ tatlo na ‘yan, kasama ang booster. Pinag-uusapan na nga y’ung pang-apat eh,” he said.
(In other countries, ‘fully vaccinated’ means three shots inclusive of a booster shot. Some countries even talk of administering a fourth shot already.)
True to his focus on faith-based and values-oriented leadership, Cayetano said even the spiritual health of the citizens is at risk especially as various forms of gambling and vices are being enabled by the government.
“Spiritual health… unfortunately imbis pigilan maraming tinulak ngayon, y’ung e-sabong, may e-casino pa raw, e-cigarettes, at y’ung vape. Y’ung mga causes [ng] addiction, he said.
(Spiritual health… unfortunately instead of preventing vices and other forms of gambling, there is a push for e-sabong, e-casinos, even e-cigarettes, vape, and other causes of addiction.)
Cayetano has consistently advocated against granting 25-year franchises to e-sabong outlets since September of last year when the House of Representatives approved a bill that would grant the e-sabong outlet Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc.
In a statement on December 10, 2021 the former Speaker said instead of allowing activities that could cause addiction and potentially destroy families, Congress should focus on direct stimulus programs to aid Filipinos amidst the pandemic.
In line with this, the financial health and economy of the country should similarly be addressed, according to Cayetano.
“Financial health, dahil marami pa ring nagsarang negosyo o lumiit ang kita, o nawalan ng trabaho…lalo na y’ung transport sector, hirap na hirap pa rin…at iba pang mga pagsubok gaya ng pagbagasak ng ekonomiya, challenge pa rin sa atin ‘yan,” he said.
(Financial health, a lot of businesses closed, people lost their jobs, especially in the transport sector…part of the challenge is the financial health of the country and economy.)
Cayetano and his allies in the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso are continuing their twin programs Sampung Libong Pag-asa and Sari-saring Pag-asa which started in 2021. The programs aim to provide financial aid to affected sectors as a response to the challenges posed by the pandemic.
“Let’s be the hope, tayo mismo ang magdala ng pagbabago..Piliin talaga natin nang mabuti mga kandidato,” Cayetano said.