Cayetano files savings bill to provide billions of pesos for pandemic relief

Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies on Thursday filed a bill that would mandate all government agencies to implement a five percent saving in order to raise P250 billion to fund direct assistance to Filipino families.

House Bill Number 10832 or the “Mandatory Savings Act of 2022” mandates all government departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, financial institutions (GFIs), and instrumentalities as well as government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) to raise five percent in budgetary savings by streamlining their activities and projects deemed inessential.

The bill was filed on March 31, 2022 by Cayetano together with his wife Taguig 2nd District Rep. Lani Cayetano, Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund “Lray” Villafuerte, Jr., Batangas 2nd District Rep. Raneo Abu, and Laguna 1st District Rep. Dan Fernandez.

“Basically, it’s a legislative authority mandating a five-percent savings then allowing the government the flexibility na gamitin ‘to sa mga dadating na pagsubok (to use this during challenging times),” Cayetano said at a press conference on March 31, 2022.

According to the bill, the year 2020 saw the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) plunge by 9.5% and the unemployment rate to rise 17.7% or 7.3 million Filipinos – the highest in 15 years.

And in August 2021, the country faced the fastest acceleration in the price of goods in two years at 4.9% inflation rate, the bill adds.

The bill proposes a five percent mandatory savings to generate a projected amount of P250 billion “to fund assistance to our countrymen who are in dire need to recover from the adverse effects of the present pandemic.”

In order to implement this measure, the bill proposes streamlining and scaling down government activities that are “no longer essential in the delivery of public services and which may be scaled down, phased-out or abolished, subject to civil service rules and regulations.”

At the press conference, Cayetano said the P250 billion fund is “very flexible” and can be used to address the issues and concerns not just of 20 million Filipino households but also of specific sectors, including transportation, food, healthcare for the elderly and most vulnerable, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“This is not a dole-out, this is actually kick starting y’ung (the) small businesses,” he said.

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