Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday urged Filipinos to support whoever wins the presidential race but added they should not do so “blindly.”
“Ako po kahit sino’ng manalo I will tell the people the same thing: suportahan natin. Huwag blindly but suportahan natin dahil para sa buong bansa ito,” Cayetano said in a media interview on May 5, 2022.
He said the reason he decided to run for the Senate as an independent candidate was so that he would be able to provide more objective support to the next administration.
“Para pag tama y’ung policies I will fully support them… Pag sa tingin ko mali y’ung policy I criticized but I suggested an alternative,” he said.
Cayetano said the next administration will have to face a lot challenges, chief among them the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the Ukraine-Russia conflict and natural disasters.
“Sa tingin ko ang hamon sa kanya (next president) is ang economy — presyo, trabaho, kita. Lalo po ang presyo, talagang whether that’s fertilizer, gasolina, sa palengke, pataas nang pataas. [Paano] madagdagan ng trabaho, tapos ang kita ng mga tao,” he said.
Cayetano said the next administration needs the people’s support because the country is still in crisis.
“Sunod-sunod ‘yan. Y’ung COVID, tapos pangalawa nga y’ung epekto ng Ukraine-Russia war, and thirdly y’ung mga sakuna na sunod-sunod pa rin na dumarating sa ating bansa pagdating ng season ng bagyo,” he said.
Cayetano said while many of these factors cannot be avoided, “we can protect ourselves by building our economy and (make it) more resilient against disasters.”
He said one of the keys to strengthening the economy is the crafting of a five-year economic recovery plan that will revolve around “Relief, Recovery, and Reform.”
As part of the “Relief” aspect of the framework, Cayetano pointed out the need to make it easy for the people to access financial aid and safety net programs that are already being implemented.
He said most Filipinos do not even know that there is an allotment of P500 billion in the 2022 national budget for different forms of financial assistance.
Cayetano said the government can use mobile technology to distribute aid directly to the beneficiaries.
“Dapat may app na rin ‘yan. Kapag kumpleto naman ang requirements mo, i-send mo lang and then through GCash or through a QR code sa phone mo e matatanggap mo na,” he said.
Programs under the “Recovery” aspect of Cayetano’s proposal include livelihood aid grants given by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Trade and Industry, as well as the small-loans facility provided by the government to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Around 60 percent ng employment sa Pilipinas ay nasa small, micro, and medium enterprise. So ibig sabihin, kapag binuhay mo ‘yan, mas magkakatrabaho ang tao, at kapag may trabaho ang tao at buhay ang negosyo, may buwis,” he said.
The “Reform” aspect of Cayetano’s proposal involves improvements in digital infrastructure as well as in agricultural and tourism infrastructure.
According to the former Speaker, all Filipinos must have access to water, electricity, and fast internet connectivity so they can fully participate in the digital economy.
This, in turn, will distribute economic activity more evenly between urban and rural areas of the country.
“If every square inch of Philippine territory has water, electricity, and internet, then hindi magsisiksikan sa siyudad, at mag-go-grow ang ating ekonomiya,” Cayetano said.