Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano gestures during the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program on August 12, 2021.

Cayetano to continue key financial aid programs once back in the Senate

Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano pledged to continue his projects like the Sampung Libong Pag-asa and Sari-saring Pag-asa that provide direct financial assistance to Filipino families and small businesses when he makes good his return to the Senate.

“Both in our private capacity and sa Senado, itutulak ko more projects na ganito,” Cayetano said in a media interview.

The Sampung Libong Pag-asa and Sari-Saring Pag-asa programs were launched by the former Speaker and his allies in Congress to emphasize the need for Congress to pass the 10K Ayuda Bill they had filed on February 1, 2021.

Sampung Libong Pag-asa, which was launched on May 1, 2021, provided P10,000 in direct cash assistance to select families to help them with their daily needs as well as to start a small business.

Sari-saring Pag-asa, on the other hand, distributed P3,500 in cash to small business owners that they can use to restock their supplies.

The two programs ran for almost a year but were paused in early February to give way to the election campaign period. At last count, the Sampung Libong Pag-asa had a total of 15,863 beneficiaries while Sari-saring Pag-asa had 17,733.

Cayetano said the programs will definitely be resumed through private donors once they are allowed again. At the same time, he said he will pursue the 10K Ayuda Bill once he is in the Senate.

Cayetano said there are multiple ways through which the government can generate funds and revenue, including the imposition of a five-percent mandatory saving in all government agencies in the next five years which would raise P250 billion to fund direct assistance to Filipino families.

The former Speaker also said he will file bills in the Senate that will address three aspects of the economy, namely “presyo, trabaho, kita.”

“Kung mababa ang presyo, basta’t may trabaho ka, kahit maliit ang kita, mabibili mo y’ung gusto mo. Pero kung maliit ang kita mo, walang trabaho, mataas ang presyo, [hindi],” he said.

Cayetano has a separate program for “presyo, trabaho, kita” — dubbed “PTK — which was launched in 2013 in order to combat usurious lending practices (commonly called five-six). The PTK focuses on cooperatives and other organizations that are given low-interest loans.

The former Speaker said he will also continue the PTK program once the campaign ban is lifted. “Kailangang kailangan ngayon ng ating mga kababayan ng mahihiraman ng pera o pang-kapital na hindi sila mababaon, kaya itutuloy pa rin natin ang mga ito sa tamang panahon,” he said.

“Nakita namin hindi sila dole-outs talaga,” Cayetano said of the three programs.

“Pipillin mo ang mga beneficiaries na gusto talagang maghanap-buhay. Alam mo iba kasi yung dignity na pinagtatrabahuhan mo yung kita mo,” he said.

Cayetano said they key to recovering from the pandemic is not to simply give out money but to give families and small businesses a chance to help themselves.

“Madaling i-advocate yung dole-out, mamigay ng pera. Sino ba naman ang ayaw mamigay ng pera, at sino’ng ayaw tumanggap ng pera? But the key really is to give them livelihood,” he said.###

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