Cayetano files ‘Sampung Libong Pag-asa’ bill to aid poor families
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Alan Peter Cayetano has refiled a version of his previous House bill that sought cash assistance for Filipino families hard-hit by the economic crisis, but now before the Senate of the Philippines.
According to the still unnumbered Senate bill from Cayetano, dubbed as the “Sampung Libong Pag-asa Law,” a cash aid of P10,000 per family or P1,500 per family member — whichever is higher — will be provided to people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with poorest families being a priority.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the country, stunt its economy, and disrupt jobs and livelihoods – especially for the most vulnerable. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures to uplift both the economy and the lives of the Filipino people,” Cayetano said in the bill.
“In line with this, the State shall endeavor to help all Filipinos and the economy get the much needed financial boost in the wake of inflation, increased prices of basic commodities, and other causes of financial strains and hardships brought about by the pandemic, most especially during the interim that a viable vaccine program is being rolled out by the Government to protect all Filipinos against COVID-19,” he added.
Under the proposed measure, the said law would be different from the social amelioration programs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), but the said program would still be created under the said agency.
After the poorest of the poor, Cayetano’s bill said that the following order will be followed in terms of prioritization:
- Senior Citizens
- Persons with Disabilities
- Solo parents
- Displaced, retrenched or separated workers, or otherwise severely affected or have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Freelancers such as entertainers, tour guides, workers in the events industry, therapists, etc.
- Drivers of public transportation such as pedicab, tricycle, PUJs, PUVs, taxi, bus, etc.
- Owners and workers in microenterprises such as sari-sari stores, market stalls, food carts, etc.;
- Homeworkers including family drivers and househelpers
- Sub-minimum wage earners
- Medical frontliners including Barangay Health Workers
- Families of Overseas Filipino Workers
- Those who were not able to receive assistance through any of the Social Amelioration Programs of the national government
- Filipino Citizens holding a Philippine National ID
- Other members of the vulnerable sectors
“The DSWD shall determine which other families that require assistance will be beneficiaries of the cash assistance program established under this Act,” the bill added.
In 2021, Cayetano who was a part of the House of Representatives called on his colleagues to focus on passing his bill which would have provided the same set of cash grants to poor Filipino families.
Cayetano said back then that lawmakers should not focus on charter change talks as providing a P10,000 cash grant would be beneficial for the economy, as the recipients would use it to buy goods — therefore mobilizing markets.
However, Cayetano became the target of ridicule on social media after the proposed P10,000 social aid did not materialize, due to Congress not having enough time to deliberate the bill.
Over various comments sections — whether it be about news, sports, or entertainment, people have been posting about Cayetano’s supposed promise to provide a P10,000 cash assistance.
In response, Cayetano last July 1 promised to file the bill, urging their counterparts in the House to file a similar measure. However, he also clarified that the P10,000 cash grant was only a legislative proposal — adding that those who criticize his bill should only help in nation-building.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the country, several versions of cash assistance were given to people, including the social amelioration program of the DSWD. However, many groups have insisted that the aid provided was not enough, and that another tranche is needed.
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