Cayetano urges gov’t to act swiftly on vaccine rollout, cash aid

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Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday urged the government to act swiftly on implementing the vaccination roll-out program and social welfare measures to help Filipinos amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with RMN Nationwide on March 17, Cayetano said standard protocols such as handwashing and physical distancing are not enough to counter the virus’s spread.

Cayetano made the statement after OCTA-Research, an independent research group, said daily new infections could reach 20,000 by April. The Department of Health (DOH) had reported 5,404 new cases last Monday, the highest daily tally of cases since August last year.

“One year na since the lockdown and siguro ay natuto tayong maging mas madasalin. Having said that, the government should not only be responsible, dapat ay hindi sila balat-sibuyas kasi ang government dapat accountable sa tao,” he said.

(It’s been a year since the lockdown and we have learned to be more prayerful. Having said that, the government should not only be responsible, it should be more receptive to criticism because it is accountable to the people.)

“So kailangan ‘yung plano ng gobyerno ay clear and kailangan ‘yung accountability. So ‘yung mga ospital nagcocomply ba na 30 percent ay COVID ang beds? ‘Yung vaccination ay nahuli tayo, so ngayon ba ay namemeet ‘yung daily na pagbakuna sa frontliners?” he added.

(So we need a clear plan from the government, as well as to hold it accountable. Are hospitals able to comply with the 30 percent requirement for COVID-designated beds? We lagged behind in our vaccination roll-out, but is the daily target now being met for frontliner vaccination?)

Cayetano also stressed that there should be no VIPs in the vaccination, especially since many local government units are still worried that they might not be given or might not be able to afford the vaccines.

He said the government has the responsibility to uplift the lives of those gravely affected by the pandemic through decisive and resolute action.

Cayetano also made a push for the 10K Ayuda Bill which he and his allies filed on February 1.

“Kung titignan mo lahat no, maraming not in our control, katulad nung bagong variation. Pero ‘yung pananalapi ng ating bansa, at ‘yung kalagayan ng ating kababayan, we are not only responsible for that, we are in a position to help dahil may pera naman ang gobyerno. So itong P10,000 kada pamilya ay itinutulak namin at hinihingi namin sa Kongreso na aksyunan na ito,” he said.

(As we see it, there are many things outside our control, such as the new variants of the virus. But as far as our fiscal capacity and for the state of our fellowmen are concerned, we are not only responsible for that — we are in a position to help because the government has the funding for it. This is why we are urging Congress to act on providing P10,000 per family.)

The 10K Ayuda Bill (House Bill No. 5897) aims to provide Filipino families, especially the poorest of the poor, with P10,000 in cash aid that would help them through the pandemic while the country waits for the full implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination plan.

The Committee on Social Services, however, has yet to tackle the proposed measure.###

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