Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said the national government can raise P250 billion that can be used to provide cash aid to every Filipino family by simply instituting a mandatory five-percent savings across all agencies.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference on March 17, 2022, Cayetano said with the amount, the government can distribute P10,000 in direct financial aid to each Filipino family and still have P50 billion left over as standby funds.
“Wala nang iiyak sa five percent. Napakaliit nyan (No agency will complain about losing five percent. That’s a very small percentage,” he said.
On Wednesday, Finance Secretary Carlos Domingez III said President Rodrigo Duterte had approved the proposal of the Department of Finance (DOF) to provide a monthly subsidy of P200 per household for poor families.
Cayetano, however, said there is still a way to raise enough money to give each family P10,000 in cash aid.
“Alam ng Pangulo y’ung aking suporta sa kanya, so I hope hindi nila masamain itong counter-proposal. Simple ang proposal: institute a mandatory five percent savings in all government agencies,” he said.
(The President knows he has my full support, so I hope he isn’t offended by my counter-proposal. The proposal is simple: institute a mandatory five percent savings in all government agencies.)
“Five percent will give you P250 billion. Once you get P250 billion, you can give each Filipino family P10,000, mayr’on ka pang P50 billion na naka-stand-by (you still have P50 billion on standby),” he added.
Cayetano said this is important as the country deals with current crises like the fuel price hikes and COVID-19 recovery, emphasizing that changes need to be made now and not after the May elections.
“I appreciate the efforts of the government but… we really have to do much, much better,” he said.
“Mas maganda na pag-usapan natin ang solusyon, hindi yung problema (It’s better to talk about solutions, not problems). Everyone knows the problem so let’s not act as if we’re helpless because government is not helpless,” he added.
Cayetano and his allies had filed the 10K Ayuda Bill in the House of Representatives on February 1, 2021 but this was not included in the final version of Bayanihan 3.
To push for its passage, Cayetano launched two programs that provided direct aid to select beneficiaries: Sampung Libong Pag-asa which gave P10,000 to families and Sari-saring Pag-asa which gave P3,500 to small business owners.
Cayetano told reporters that he observed that up to a third of beneficiaries of Sampung Libong Pag-asa used the amount to start small businesses or livelihood activities which in turn helped their respective communities.
Cayetano said far from being a dole-out, the “teach a man to fish” approach is necessary to cover pressing financial burdens and is better than piecemeal amounts that would last families only a short time.
He also said government must institute changes now and not wait until the next administration comes to power because by then, the government will have its own focus and plans for recovery.
“Kung ano man ang usapan ngayon na iibigay sa tao, pagdating ng susunod na administrasyon, maiiba din yan. So, kung nabigay mo na yung limang libo, sampung libo, tapos na,” he said.
(Whatever is decided to give as aid now, when the new administration comes in things will change. So if you give P5,000 or P10,000 now, it’s done.)###