Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday highlighted a number of programs from President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration that should be continued by the next administration: the war on drugs, Build Build Build, and access to financial programs.
“Dapat ipagpatuloy ang war on drugs, pero dapat walang abuso, at dapat mas maraming rehab center,” he said in a radio interview on February 10.
(The war on drugs should be continued but there should be no abuse of it, and there should be more rehabilitation centers.)
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has said it is investigating more than 100 police officers allegedly involved in more than 52 anti-illegal drug operations that resulted in the deaths of a number of suspects.
Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the number of Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers has increased to 22 last year from only 13 in 2016.
As of October 2021, it added, more than 780,000 individuals had availed themselves of community-based wellness and recovery programs.
Cayetano, who was Duterte’s running mate in 2016 and is now running on a faith-based and values-oriented platform in his comeback trail to the Senate, said the next administration should also focus on prevention by providing different activities especially for the youth.
“For example, gamitin dapat ang sports (sports should be utilized),” he said.
Cayetano had earlier said government must also have a medical approach to the problem since those who get addicted to drugs are victims.
“They became addicted not because they wanted to, but because they were curious and the drugs took over their minds and hearts. So there has to be a medical intervention, too,” he said.
Build Build Build
In his radio interview on Wednesday, Cayetano said the next administration should also continue Duterte’s Build Build Build program because it will provide jobs to thousands of Filipinos and will ease congestion in urban areas.
“Kung gusto nating mawala y’ung trapik sa highly urbanized, kailangan talagang lumabas. Kaliangan mas marami talagang infra and kailangan matuto tayo… (sa) Japan at China (kung saan) ang bibilis ng mga tren,” he said.
(If we really want to lessen traffic congestion in highly urbanized areas, we really need to expand. There must be more infrastructure and we must learn from Japan and China where the trains run very fast.)
He said the country needs to build high-speed trains to make it easy for Filipinos to travel from Metro Manila to other provinces, leading to the development of those areas.
Cayetano said one of his own programs that he will continue and for which he will seek government support is direct financial assistance to families.
“Mayroon pondo ngayon ‘yan, may P1 billion ‘yan sa DTI , mahigit P20 billion din sa DSWD, pero paano ipadali na makuha ng tao directly,” he said.
(There are funds for that. There is P1 billion with the DTI [Department of Trade and Industry] and more than P20 billion with the DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development], but it has to be made easier for the people to access.)
Aside from these, the 2022 National Budget also includes P26.5 billion from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and P7 billion from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for assistance to Filipinos.
Cayetano said the government should simplify the process for distributing the cash aid in the same way it distributes the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), which is given directly to the beneficiaries.
The former Speaker has been vocal about providing a uniform P10,000 direct cash assistance to all Filipino families to help them recover from the pandemic and give the economy a boost.
This was the reason he launched the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program last year, providing P10,000 cash grants to select families in order to show how beneficial the amount is to the recipients. The program, which ran daily from May 1, 2021, had its finale last Monday, February 7.