Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday called on the national government to consider creating a ‘hunger hotline’ that will respond to families seeking food assistance amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.
“Ngayon pong pandemic, dalawa po ang hindi pwedeng hindi asikasuhin ng gobyerno: gutom at gamot,” Cayetano said during the 14th edition of his Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program held on August 6, streamed live on Facebook.
(During a pandemic, there are two things that the government cannot ignore: hunger and medicine.)
“Ibig sabihin po, basta’t ang tao may kinakain tatlong beses sa isang araw at basta po may gamot ‘pag may sakit, kahit papaano po mag-su-survive,” he continued.
(Meaning, as long as our people eat three times a day and as long as they have access to medicine when they get sick, they can survive.)
He said in the United States, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) operates a national hunger hotline which connects callers to the nearest emergency food providers such as meal sites and food banks as well as other government assistance programs available to them.
“Pwede niyo pong gamitin ang mga kapitan (barangay captain), kaya lang po, marami sa mga kapitan wala nang resources kasi more than 500 days na po ang atin pong pandemya,” the former Speaker said.
(You can tap the barangay captains, but given that the pandemic has been going on for more than 500 days, their own resources have now been depleted.)
Cayetano reiterated his appeal to the national government to finally approve the P10,000 in cash aid per family so Filipinos will be able to put up their own small businesses and sustain themselves amid the pandemic.
“Habang nakatutok po y’ung ECQ sa kalusugan o sa buhay, kailangan tutukan din natin po y’ung kabuhayan kasi hindi ka nga mamamatay sa COVID, namatay ka naman po sa gutom,” he said.
(While the ECQ is addressing the country’s health, the people’s lack of livelihood must also be addressed, because if not, they may not die of COVID but might die of starvation.)
If approved, he said he is eyeing to make it a three to five-year assistance program to help the bigger families who were hit the hardest recover from the worsened poverty due to the crisis.###