Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano called on Congress to be meticulous in planning the national budget for next year to facilitate a smooth transition of leadership in 2022.
“I think we should really focus on coming up with a very, very good budget, especially na kalahati na lang ng taon next year ang Pangulo,” he said in a radio interview on November 11, 2021.
“So, whoever becomes President in 2022, napakaimportante na maganda yung budget na naipasa natin para di siya mahirapan sa transition,” he added.
(I think we should really focus on coming up with a very, very good budget, especially since the current President will only be staying until the first half of the year. So, whoever becomes President in 2022, it’s important that we pass a good budget so that we won’t have a difficult transition.)
In recent months, the former Speaker has been vocal on the inclusion of a comprehensive direct stimulus program in next year’s national budget.
He said his 10K Ayuda Bill recently gained a new advocate in Senator Joel Villanueva, who recently expressed his support for the proposed measure as well as his commitment to push for it in the Senate.
“We’re hoping, praying, and taking a leap of faith. Senator Joel Villanueva agreed to help push for it,” he said.
Cayetano said Villanueva will most likely work with his sister Senator Pia Cayetano in getting the bill moving in the Senate.
He said there is growing support for the bill since he and his allies have already proven that the proposed stimulus program in the 10K Ayuda Bill is feasible.
He cited the P500 billion increase in the national budget next year which he said is more than enough to support an expanded cash aid program for the poor.
“Yung nagsasabi kasing hindi kaya o walang pera, napatunayan na natin na mali ‘yan. Kasi P500 billion ang dinadagdag nila next year,” Cayetano said.
(Some say that it cannot be done and we cannot afford it. We’ve already proved them wrong since we’re increasing next year’s budget by P500 billion.)
The former Speaker said the national government can already implement a financial assistance program for small businesses affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“You can already give all small businesses — yung mga parlor, sari-sari store, karinderya, yung mga repair shop — you can already give them P10,000 (each) for P70 billion,” he said.
“For almost P200 billion, mga P180 billion o P170 billion, lahat na ng pamilyang Pilipino ang mabibigyan natin,” he added.
(You can already give all small businesses — parlors, sari-sari stores, eateries, repair shops — you can already give them P10,000 each with P70 billion. With almost P200 billion, perhaps between P180 billion or P170 billion, we can already give aid to all Filipino families.)
Cayetano and his allies filed the 10K Ayuda Bill in early February with the aim of providing pandemic-stricken Filipino families with P10,000 each to support their basic needs and revitalize their sources of livelihood.
While the measure was consolidated into the Bayanihan 3 bill, its proposed amount for cash aid was not adopted at the panel level.