Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday said while it is difficult to find the resources to help those who have been adversely affected by the pandemic, it is still “a blessing” because he gets to see the people helping each other recover.
Cayetano made the statement during the distribution of grocery packs to barangay frontliners in Barangay Poblacion IV, Silang, Cavite on December 13, 2021.
He was joined in the activity by Mayor Socorro Rosario Poblete and Cavite Liga ng mga Barangay President Francisco Crisostomo.
A total of 250 beneficiaries consisting of residents, tanods, barangay officials, Sangguniang Kabataan officials, barangay health workers (BHWs), barangay nutrition scholars (BNS), and other barangay frontliners received grocery packs.
“It’s such a difficult job but it’s such a blessing to [work with] people you’ve known for so long,” Cayetano said, commending Poblete and Crisostomo for their shared drive to aid their constituents.
“Kung halimbawa one-third or one-fourth ng buong barangay mo nawalan ng trabaho o hindi makapag-trabaho, walang kita, lumiit ang kita, napakahirap humanap ng enough resources for everyone eh,” he added.
(For example, if a third or a fourth of the barangay’s residents have lost their jobs, or can’t get one, or are without income, it’s really hard to find enough resources to aid everyone.)
Despite this, Cayetano has continued donating goods as well as distributing cash aid through the Sampung Libong Pag-asa and Sari-saring Pag-asa programs, counting on friends and concerned Filipinos to donate for the cause.
Launched on May 1, 2021, the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program gives P10,000 in financial assistance to select individuals affected by the pandemic.
Cayetano spearheaded the initiative in order to campaign for the inclusion of the P10,000 financial aid provision under the Bayanihan 3.
This is complemented by the Sari-saring Pag-asa program which provides P3,500 to select sari-sari store owners to help them restock their supplies and pay for their immediate needs.
Relating the experience of the barangay at the height of the pandemic, Crisostomo said they did not even know what to do at first.
“Sobrang kakaiba ho, hindi po kami ready noong time na ‘yon….so nangangapa kami kung paano namin didisiplinahin y’ung mga tao, paano bumaba y’ung mortality dito sa amin,” he said.
(It was a strange time, we weren’t ready then… we were at a loss as to how we could discipline the people, how to lower mortality rate.)
Mayor Poblete, for her part, said the help of people like Cayetano served to encourage them to move forward.
“Lalo pa pong lumalakas ang loob ko kasi maraming tulong na galing sa nasyonal na bumababa dito sa bayan ng Silang,” she said.
(I feel more hopeful knowing that SIlang receives aid from the government, among others.)
Monday’s event was only one of many other donation drives spearheaded by the former Speaker. He and his team had previously distributed aid to Silang on March 4, September 29, and October 27 this year.