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Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said the country’s direct stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is much smaller than our neighbors’, making it more difficult for ordinary citizens to recover from the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press briefing in Baguio City on July 2 before the Sampung Libong Pag-asa live virtual program, Cayetano said the low amount set aside for financial aid to citizens is paving the way for the slow-paced economic revival of the country.
“If you look at many countries, kasama sa kanilang stimulus ay ‘yung ayuda. Ang tawag nila ay direct stimulus. Ang America ay naka-ilang bigay na nito,” he said.
(If you look at many countries, cash assistance is part of their stimulus package and they call it direct stimulus. In the United States, the government has already provided direct stimulus grants several times.)
He said the Philippines has only released $12.2 billion in economic stimulus budget while five countries in the Southeast Asian region have a much higher economic stimulus package, including Vietnam with $20 billion, Indonesia with $48.18 billion, Malaysia with $64.86 billion, Singapore with $76.64 billion, and Thailand with $90.2 billion.
“The reality is hindi gumagalaw ang ating ekonomiya at mas marami ang nagugutom sa ating mga kababayan,” Cayetano said.
(The reality is that our economy remains stagnant and this has resulted to many Filipinos getting hungry.)
He said the country’s low economic stimulus package has prompted many private individuals to help others by spearheading donation drives and contributing to good causes like community pantries.
Cayetano said he and his allies in Congress are pushing for a three-combination punch to address the problem.
“That’s why we’re pushing for a three-combination punch. Number one, Bayanihan 3 na between one to three trillion pesos. Number two is a very progressive 2022 budget and third, a five-year plan that will include sampung libong ayuda for the next three to five years,” Cayetano shared.
(That’s why we’re pushing for a three-combination punch to solve the problem of our citizens. First is to pass the Bayanihan 3 which carries at least 1 to 3 trillion pesos. Second is a very progressive 2022 budget, and third is a five-year plan that will include Sampung Libong Ayuda for the next three to five years.)
According to Cayetano, the 10K Ayuda will give enough purchasing power to every Filipino family, which in turn could help in the overall economic recovery of the country.
He said he also believes a five-year economic recovery plan will be beneficial for the country as it seeks to rise from the pandemic.
“Hindi enough ang isang taon upang mabigyang solusyon ang problema ng bansa (One year is not enough to solve the country’s problems),” he said.
“The five-year plan our group is proposing will be a long-term solution to the problems we encountered during the pandemic,” he added. ###