No shortcuts to solving crisis economic crisis

Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said he will make sure the Legislative Branch will not resort to “shortcut” programs in solving the ongoing economic crisis should he make good his comeback to the Senate after the May elections.

“Usually kapag mahirap ang panahon, kapit sa patalim eh — nagso-shortcut tayo. So napupunta sa sugal, smuggling, ilegal, corruption,” Cayetano said in a media interview on April 22, 2022.

Cayetano, who is running on a faith-based and values-oriented leadership platform, said he will push for legislative measures that will “get the job done” without resorting to such activities.

“‘Yun ang babantayan natin na dalawa: to get the job done na hindi magutom ang ating mga kababayan, but at the same time hindi tayo mag-shortcut at hindi talaga masira ang mabuting landas ng ating bansa,” he said.

The former Speaker has been strongly opposing the granting of 25-year franchises on e-sabong operators, saying what the government earns does not justify the problems spawned by internet gambling activities.

He has also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act, also known as the Vape Bill, saying it represents a “clear and present danger” to the public, particularly the youth.

Cayetano said the government must safeguard the health of the public “over the profit of a few business owners.”

Cayetano also said there are multiple ways through which the government can generate funds and revenue, including the imposition of a five-percent mandatory saving in all government agencies in the next five years which would raise P250 billion to fund direct assistance to Filipino families.

Attributing the current economic crisis to the pandemic-induced lockdowns and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the former Speaker said he will file bills in the Senate that will address three aspects of the economy, namely “presyo, trabaho, kita.”

“Kung mababa ang presyo, basta’t may trabaho ka, kahit maliit ang kita, mabibili mo y’ung gusto mo. Pero kung maliit ang kita mo, walang trabaho, mataas ang presyo, [hindi],” he said.

Noting that 60 percent of all the jobs in the country are generated by micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Cayetano said he will also push for the implementation of a loan program for MSMEs with very low interest and one year grace period, payable in five to 10 years.

“Ang mayaman palaging may tatakbuhan na mauutangan, whether pamilya, raising money through stocks and bonds, or through borrowing sa bangko. Pero ang ordinaryong pilipino na may maliit na negosyo, sa 5-6 lang ang takbo eh,” he said.

Cayetano had earlier presented his Relief, Reform, Recovery plan in a press conference on April 7, 2022, which contained his proposed spending policies and programs that span the next five years as a whole.

Included in his proposed “comprehensive” plan were “doable” financial assistance programs; reforms in digital infrastructure, agriculture, and tourism; and loans to small businesses.

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