The Duterte-Cayetano tandem is perhaps the most significant partnership in our present political arena. With this friendship at the helm, the country saw its best and survived its worst, from the successful handling of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games to the country’s initial response against the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address approaching, it’s the best time to see him and his former running mate in action. Cayetano helped build the country’s COVID-19 response program through the enactment of Bayanihan 1 and 2. Even after his stint as Speaker, his proposal to distribute P10,000 to every Filipino household, especially the poorest of the poor, has been gaining ground across the country. More than 3,000 beneficiaries nationwide have received cash aid from his Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program, an offspring of his advocacy. Moreover, Cayetano and his allies have been actively lobbying for a genuinely responsive national budget in 2022.
As the country continues to struggle with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on the economy, Duterte’s upcoming State of the Nation Address will probably be his most important. The President can refer to Cayetano’s proposed five-year economic recovery plan for suggestions. The plan covers several crucial sectors, including health, education, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, services, and digital infrastructure. Economic recovery will definitely be the battle cry of the President’s final year in office.
Without a doubt, the next few months will shape Duterte’s legacy. It will be a make-or-break moment for a Presidency that has survived crises left and right. And for that legacy to succeed, we might need to look back at the tandem that launched it.