“Kaya ba?” Kaya!”
Senator Alan Peter “Compañero” Cayetano gave this assurance during the Independence Day episode of Sampung Libong Pag-asa – a program that started as a bill seeking to provide P10,000 in cash assistance to Filipino families but which now continues to give the amount to selected beneficiaries through private initiatives.
Cayetano said while the proposed law has not been passed, the program will continue.
“Maaring sa ngayon po ay hindi pa ipinapasa ang Sampung Libong Pag-Asa nationwide. Tingin ko po kasi na dapat three years — during and after the pandemic — kailangan pa iyan bilang booster at jumpstart sa inyong mga kabuhayan,” he said.
Cayetano had first filed the 10K Ayuda Bill (House Bill No. 8597) in the 18th Congress with his wife, then-Taguig first district Rep. Lani Cayetano, to provide Filipino families needing economic relief with a one-time cash assistance of P10,000.
The 18th Congress failed to include the measure in the Bayanihan 3 COVID-19 package but when he won a seat in the Senate in the 19th Congress in 2022, Cayetano filed Senate Bill No. 62 or the proposed Sampung Libong Pag-asa Law providing the same benefits.
“Having said that, dahil iba ang style ng gobyerno, may pera pero sa iba gusto idaan ang ayuda, ipinagpapatuloy natin itong programa sa pribado, through donations, at tulong ng mga kaibigan,” Cayetano said during Tuesday’s program.
Despite the lack of government support, Cayetano’s program has been able to give cash assistance of P10,000 to more than 16,000 families since the initiative started on May 1, 2021.
“Hindi po ito biro dahil more than 16,000 na po ang nabigyan natin ng 10k ayuda. Ano po’ng ibig sabihin nito? Ibig sabihin po 160 million in donations in two years ang natatanggap at napapamigay,” he said.
The independent senator also addressed some of the questions and criticism from the public, which he said is due to misinformation or the lack of information.
“When I was [House of Representatives] Speaker and nag-lockdown [noong pandemic], nakita natin na hirap na hirap ang ating mga kababayan kaya ipinasa natin y’ung Bayanihan 1. Under Bayanihan 1, lahat ng pamilyang Pilipino ay nabigyan ng P10,000 pero two gives,” he said.
“So from the start na prinopose na natin na magkaroon ng Sampung Libong Pag-asa, hindi iyan first time. Second time sana iyan. Kaya natin prinopose dahil nakita nating nagawa na,” he said.
Cayetano said the government admits it has money for the program but wants it to be under different government programs.
“Ang naging usapin lang, whether it was past and this administration, wala nang lockdown so ‘di na kailangan y’ung diyes mil. Ang sabi ko naman po, tingnan niyo ang lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno — DSWD, DOLE, PhilHealth, etc. — lahat iyan may pondo. Kapag pinagsama-sama iyan, pwedeng bigyan ng 10k ang pamilyang Pilipino,” he explained.
“Sinabi ko po na bakit hindi niyo na lang tanggalin ang red tape at ibigay lahat sa pamilyang Pilipino kasi hirap na ang ating mga kababayan na pumila sa kung lahat naman po matanggal y’ung burukrasya,” he added.
Freedom from poverty, gambling
For her part, City of Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano urged the beneficiaries of the Independence Day episode to make the most out of the assistance so they can be free from poverty and gambling.
“Malaya na tayo sa pananakop mula sa mga dayuhan, pero marami pang estado o sitwasyon na gusto nating maging malaya tayo. Isa po doon y’ung gusto nating maging malaya sa kahirapan at gutom, kaya po sinusuportahan natin ang programa ni Senator Alan sa pagbibigay puhunan para sa mga masisipag po nating mga kababayan,” she said.
She said as City of Taguig Mayor, her only request is that the beneficiaries – who were selected from different parts of Metro Manila – value the help extended to them.
“Napakahalaga na makikita ng may mga magagandang loob na kung sino ang binigyan ay pinagyayaman,” she said.
She also urged the beneficiaries not to use the assistance for gambling or any other vice.
“Ang pinakaayaw po naming mabalitaan ni senador na ang pampuhunan ay ibinigay sa tong-itan, bingguhan, at inuman. Lalo na ayaw mabalitaan pinang online sugal iyan,” she said.
The mayor finished her message by challenging the beneficiaries to prove that they are trustworthy not just to the program but to themselves.
“Higit sa matatanggap ninyong puhunan, huwag po ninyong sasayangin ang tiwalang binigay sa inyo. Nagtitiwala po kami sa inyo so we challenge you, pagtiwalaan po ninyo ang mga sarili ninyo. Magtatagumpay kayo sa awa at biyaya ng Panginoon,” she said.
Before the special episode ended, Senator Cayetano thanked the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the supporters and private donors, and the beneficiaries who are community volunteers, fire brigade volunteers, security guards, and youth volunteers.
He also thanked Rep. Cruz for filing a counterpart measure at the House before session ended in March.
“Salamat… (kay) Ading Cruz, ang ating congressman ng District 1, dahil tinutulak pa rin niya ang Sampung Libong Pag-Asa kasama ang mga supporters natin na tumutulong sa House of Representatives. God bless you at maraming salamat po!” Cayetano said.