Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said government must learn to trust the people as he renewed his call for the creation of a “hunger hotline” that would provide the public, especially the “poorest of the poor,” with instant relief during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Taguig City on August 11, 2021, Cayetano said while he understands that some officials may be hesitant to create a hotline because it is an easy target for scammers, the government must start “trusting its own people.”
He said government can also come up with a verification system that would confirm the identities of the beneficiaries.
Cayetano said the proposed hotline would provide instant relief to the public as phones and gadgets are more accessible now.
“I think that kind of malasakit (concern), we owe our people,” he said.
“Finite number naman ‘tong nangangailangan ng gamot at pagkain. Hindi ba dapat may hotline? Kasi sa ngayon, hindi pa rin talaga malaman ng tao kung saan pupunta,” he added.
(The number of people who need food and medicine assistance is finite. Shouldn’t there be a hotline for them? At present, the people don’t know where to go.)
Cayetano said he talked to a number of beneficiaries of the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program and learned that most of them are not able to eat three times a day because of lack of government assistance.
“Ganun na ba ka-harsh ang ating gobyerno na kailangan hanapin mo y’ung kapitan, konsehal, congressman, mayor, at ‘pag sagad na ang tulong sa’yo ng mga y’un, gutom ka na lang?” he said.
(Is the government so harsh that the people have to look for their barangay captains, councilors, congressmen, abd mayors, and when the local government officials can no longer afford to provide assistance, the people simply go hungry?)
He said while he is certain the local government officials are providing as much help as possible, the national government must become more proactive as it has more resources to provide the people with the relief they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The national government has the resources. May DSWD naman sa lahat (Every region has their respective social welfare and development department),” he said.