Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said instead of merely reacting to the surges brought about by COVID-19, particularly the Omicron variant, the government must lead by acting and thinking ahead of the situation.
“Kasi parang react lang tayo nang react dito sa COVID, e kailangan unahan natin ito. Kaya nga ‘lead’ eh, pag nagli-lead ka, nandoon ka sa una, you’re showing the way,” Cayetano said in a Facebook livestream on January 13, 2022.
(We seem to be reacting more than making sure we are thinking and acting ahead of COVID. When you lead, you should be at the forefront and showing people the way.)
The country’s COVID-19 cases skyrocketed to 3,092,409 after the Department of Health (DOH) recorded the highest single-day tally of 34,021 new cases on January 13.
This and an all-time high positivity rate of 47.9% is a wake up call for improving our COVID-19 response, primarily the handing out of financial aid, the former Speaker said.
“Y’ung mga malalaking pondo na nasa gobyerno na y’un ang good news, and [I’ll be sharing] some ideas how to make it easier for people to receive y’ung ayuda, y’ung tulong, kumbaga mga rescue funds at ‘tsaka mga Build Back Better funds,” Cayetano stated.
(Larger budgetary allocations in our government agencies is good news. I’ll be sharing some ideas that focus on how people can receive financial aid, other forms of help, rescue funds, and Build Back Better funds.)
“We’ll try to do more, and help more,” he said.
Cayetano’s twin programs, Sampung Libong Pag-asa and Sari-saring Pag-asa, continue to spread hope amidst the surges brought by COVID-19.
The latest Sari-saring Pag-asa episode aired on January 13 featured sari-sari store owner beneficiaries from Opol, Misamis Oriental, and Cuenca, Batangas.
“Just like many others po, ‘pag sanay na po kayo sa income niyo, tapos bumagsak sa one-fourth and then kaliwa’t kanan ang problema, it’s a big, big challenge,” the former Speaker said, lamenting the struggles of small businesses like sari-sari stores, amidst the pandemic.
(Just like many others, if you’re used to a certain bracket of income, and this suddenly decreases by a fourth along with many other problems, it’s a big challenge.)
Cuenca Mayor Faye Endaya-Barretto expressed gratitude to Cayetano for the financial aid programs which continue to support her constituents.
“Napakalaking tulong po, hindi lamang po sa aking bayan, kundi po sa buong distrito na lahat po kami halos nakapalibot sa Taal volcano. So hindi po iisa lamang ang naging unos na dumaan sa amin,” Mayor Endaya-Barretto said.
(This is really a big help, not just for my constituents, but to the whole district of Batangas. Our district surrounds Taal volcano, so we experienced not one but many other calamities in our area.)
“Ang laking tulong palagi si Sen. Alan, palaging tumutulong sa amin. Every ‘pag may needs, kahit wala pang problema nariyan na y’ung tulong,” Opol Mayor Mayor Maximino B. Seno for his part said.
(Regardless if we experience problems in our area, Senator Alan is always supporting us.)
A total of 820 sari-sari store owners — 15 from Opol and 805 from Cuenca — were given P3,500 to replenish the stocks of their small stores.
The Sari-saring Pag-asa program was spearheaded by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies in Congress to provide select sari-sari stores P3,500 to help them restock their inventories.
As of writing, the total number of 14,159 sari-sari store owners have benefitted from the program.