Need for financial aid continues as pandemic persists

Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday reiterated his call on the national government to answer the clamor of the people to provide financial aid, especially to Filipinos who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

“If we focus on health and livelihood, the people will see that the government is able to extend a lifeline to them despite the challenges they face right now,” Cayetano said.

The former Speaker made the statement after the 10K Ayuda Na Network held a protest outside the Senate in Pasay City on January 27, 2022.

The group has been actively calling on the government to distribute financial support to Filipino families affected by the pandemic, particularly the proposed P10,000 financial aid to Filipinos who have lost their jobs and livelihoods to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photos on its Facebook page showed the 10K Ayuda Na Network pushing for the passage of the 10K Ayuda Bill, which had been proposed by Cayetano in the House of Representatives last year and by Senator Joel Villanueva in the Senate on January 24, 2022.

Cayetano noted that in light of the protest action on Thursday, there continues to exist a “real need for a direct stimulus aid especially for Filipinos in affected sectors as the pandemic continues.”

He said with an approved national budget of P5.024 trillion, setting aside even just five percent – or P250 billion – means the government can provide P10,000 for each Filipino family.

Acknowledging that there are social amelioration programs that provide financial assistance under the 2022 national budget, Cayetano said the funds are sprawled across various agencies and are thus hard for Filipinos to access.

“Red tape will make it difficult for Filipinos to avail themselves of COVID-19 assistance if the government insists on providing it through various agencies. Just give it per family at ibigay niyo sa LGU. Lahat bigyan niyo na (Let the LGU handle the funds),” he said.

The former Speaker has long been advocating for a broad-based economic stimulus program to help the country recover from the pandemic.

He and his allies in the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso filed the 10K Ayuda Bill on February 1, 2021 with the aim of providing P10,000 in direct stimulus to every Filipino family to help them with immediate household needs and restart their businesses.

“Napatunayan ito sa napakaraming bansa na effective talaga ito dahil umiikot ang pera, so mula sa sari-sari store, sa karinderya, sa mga grocery, sa mga transports, and kumikita nang konti at may panggastos ang tao,” he said, referring to the United States, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore.

(Other countries have proven that this is effective for socio-economic growth. From sari-sari stores to small eateries and groceries, even transports, as long as the money circulates, people will have more to spend, if not save.)

In response to the hardships brought about by the pandemic, Cayetano initiated his twin programs, Sampung Libong Pag-asa and Sari Saring Pag-asa program, early last year.

Sampung Libong Pag-asa provides direct aid of P10,000 to Filipinos in the affected sectors while Sari-saring Pag-asa provides small store owners with P3,500 financial aid in order to give them a chance to restock their small stores and businesses.

These are part of his five-year economic plan that focuses on the lives and livelihoods of Filipinos. Both programs continue to air on the former Speaker’s official Facebook page.####

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