Financial assistance during pandemic ‘not a dole-out’

Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday said financial assistance to micro and small businesses is not a dole-out when the context is two years of struggle against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a radio interview on May 3, 2022, the former Speaker appealed to his colleagues in the government to take into consideration the facts of the current livelihood situation of Filipinos before dismissing any proposal on financial assistance.

“Kasi sinasabi nung iba na dole-out ang ayuda, pero kung titingnan mo two years na bugbog na bugbog y’ung ating mga livleihood, y’ung ating ekonomiya – whether you talk about farming, tourism – kahit anong industriya, even on transportation,” he said.

He said this is not to mention the rising price of fuel that led to high prices of basic goods, transportation, and even fertilizers for farmers.

“Sa bawat problema, kapag tiningnan natin y’ung solusyon klaro y’ung facts natin,” he said, referring to the provision of aid to families and small businesses.

Cayetano reiterated his proposal to provide low-interest loans to micro and small businesses ranging from P15,000 to P10 million, payable in 10 years with a one-year grace period.

“Dapat dito, ang only collateral mo is that you can show na one year before the pandemic ay ikaw ay nag-ooperate na, may permits ka, nagbabayad ka ng tax,” he said.

He said the next administration must enact a series of programs that will address three aspects of crisis response, namely relief, recovery, and reform.

Cayetano called this a “1-2-3 punch” approach, with the first “punch” being the provision of P10,000 in cash aid to every Filipino family.

This must then be followed by loans to micro and small enterprises, while pump-priming the country’s industries such as agriculture and tourism.

He cited for example the building of better infrastructures in tourism sites such as roads, sewage systems, and modernized comfort rooms to facilitate the reopening of the tourism industry, which brings in income in many parts of the country.

“At saka katulad ng sa Malaysia at Thailand halimbawa, y’ung mga stores para po d’un sa mga pasalubong, gobyerno ang gagawa, then meron pong construction, may perang umiikot habang bumabalik ang turista at y’ung iba pang mga industriya,” Cayetano said.

“Napakaraming pwedeng gawin, ang kailangan lang talaga tutukan ito ng gobyerno,” he added.

Cayetano is currently gunning for a comeback in the Senate on a faith-based and values-oriented platform.

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