Economic recovery to be top concern in 2022 elections: Cayetano

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Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said the country’s economic recovery will take center stage in the 2022 national and local elections.

In an interview with the media during the rollout of vaccines and distribution of cash aid for seafarers on June 25, Cayetano said economic recovery measures as well as moves to strengthen the country’s health system will be the key concerns among voters in the upcoming elections.

“The single largest factor in 2022 is yung mga solusyon sa mga problema na dinala ng COVID-19,” he said.

(The single largest factor in 2022 is what solutions a candidate will propose in response to the problems triggered by COVID-19.)

With the national government still concentrated on the medical front, Cayetano said he is deeply concerned about the country’s efforts towards economic recovery, which lag behind the economic stimulus programs being implemented in other countries.

“Nakikita ko na may plano sa medical side: sa pagbakuna, sa pag contact tracing, sa isolation, sa pagpapalaki ng kapasidad ng mga ospital. Pero doon sa economic side, kung ano yung galing natin before COVID-19, sana po ganun din ngayon. Kasi (compared) sa ibang bansa, naiiwanan na tayo sa (economic) stimulus,” he said.

(We already have a plan on the medical side: on vaccination, contact tracing, isolation, and increasing the capacity of our hospitals. But on the economic side, we should strive for economic progress similar to what we experienced before the pandemic. Because compared to other countries, we’re lagging behind in terms of economic stimulus.)

Cayetano, who recently said he is considering running for higher office next year, suggested that all presidentiables should work with experts from different fields in developing a five-year COVID-19 economic recovery plan.

“Ipatawag yung mga presidentiables. Ipatawag yung mga eksperto sa agriculture, sa mineral resource development, sa manufacturing, sa tourism, sa finance, at gumawa kayo ng plano na madaling maintindihan,” he said.

(Convene all the presidentiables. Convene our experts in agriculture, mineral resource development, manufacturing, tourism, and finance. Let’s make a plan that is easy to understand.)

The former Speaker said expanding the government’s cash aid program and distributing P10,000 to every family would help local government units (LGUs) respond more effectively to the economic impacts of the pandemic.

“Mas madadalian ang lahat ng LGU kung aaprubahan yung sampung libong ayuda para sa bawat pamilya. Kaya naman labas nang labas ang mga tao, kahit delikado, kasi wala nang pambili ng pagkain,” Cayetano said.

(Our LGUs will have an easier time once the P10,000 cash aid program is approved. People keep on going out despite all the risk involved because they have to look for ways to feed their families.)

Cayetano and his allies filed the 10K Ayuda Bill in early February, aiming to boost household consumption and boost economic growth. While the bill was consolidated into the Bayanihan 3 bill, its proposed amount for cash aid was not adopted.

On June 1, the House of Representatives passed the Bayanihan 3 bill on third and final reading.

Comparing the cash aid program to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Cayetano argued that widespread unemployment and hunger justify the annual distribution of P10,000 to every family for the next three to five years.

“Marami ang natanggal sa trabaho. Dumoble ang gutom. Why not add another hundred billion for the next three to five years para ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino, whether through 4Ps or diretso, may P10,000 once in a year para makabangon at makabawi?” he said.

(Many lost their jobs. The hungry have doubled in number. Why not add another hundred billion for the next three to five years so that every Filipino family can receive P10,000 once a year directly or through 4Ps? This will allow them to rise up and make up for lost income.)

On Friday, Cayetano and his allies distributed P10,000 to 300 seafarers affected by the ongoing pandemic, as well 100 commenters from the event’s Facebook livestream.

This is part of the group’s Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program, which was inspired by the vision of the 10K Ayuda Bill.

The initiative was launched to help the poorest of the poor in provinces and among sectors hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic. To date, more than 3,000 beneficiaries nationwide have already received cash aid through the program. ####

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