Press Release
April 22, 2010

Statement of the Office of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Omnibus response to spam texts and emails on Sen. Pia's alleged anti-soldier remarks

On behalf of Senator Pia Cayetano, I wish to clarify the malicious allegations being raised in anonymous spam texts and e-mails being circulated recently to criticize the Senator Cayetano's alleged anti-soldier remarks on "Harapan" (an evening show on ABS-CBN that features national candidates).

First, allow us to correct a factual error in these spam texts/emails that have sadly led some people to read and interpret the good senator's statement out of context. No, the senator has never appeared on ABS-CBN's "Harapan." But she did guest on the "Hiritan 2010" segment of "Unang Hirit" (GMA7 morning show) last April 16. Obviously, those circulating the spam texts and emails never even bothered to check their facts, and in all likelihood, might not even have personally seen or heard Sen. Cayetano on Hiritan (which can readily be reviewed on if they missed watching the live airing). Still, her detractors proceeded to unfairly castigate the senator.

What's even worse is when these spammers even paraphrased portions of the Senator's full statement to make it appear that she maligned "our soldiers just because they are high school graduates only and they should be paid less."

For those who are not aware of the Senator's full statement, below is the full text, verbatim, of the interaction between senatorial bets Sonia Roco and Sen. Cayetano on Unang Hirit for a full background and better appreciation of the context of Sen. Pia's one-minute remark:

SONIA ROCO: Senadora Pia, gusto ko lang malaman kung mayroon ka talagang nakahanda na plataporma ngayon kung sakaling maibalik ka sa senado, para sa edukasyon lalong lalo na yon ating mga guro.

SEN PIA: Thank you po sa katanungan na yan Tita Sonia ...doon ho sa 14th Congress, pinaglaban ko po sa salary standardization law ang sweldo po ng teachers and nurses... kasi may discrimination diyan against women...ang mga profession na dominated by women laging mas mababa ang graduate sila pero ang antas ng kanilang sweldo kapareho lang ng graduate sa high school na mga I have been already fighting for that...on record yon... natalo ho ako sa botohan... ang nagawa ko lang taasan yong sweldo ng teachers ng sciences and math... so I promise, because I have been doing it na, uunti-untihin ko ito dahil talagang mababa ang sweldo nila...saan manggagaling? We have unprogrammed funds...more than hundred billion...119 nineteen billion ang unprogrammed funds...56 billion from the mobile vehicle fund na walang hindi natin alam kung sann ginagamit...madalin hong gamitin yon...pinaglaban ko din yan sa budget hearing na ilipat yan sa defined programs of education and health.

In this exchange, please note:

1. There is nothing in Sen. Pia's statement that would suggest she is advocating that our soldiers should be paid less.

2. The thrust of her response was to offset the discrimination against professional women in the civil service and seek an increase in their salaries.

3. Underscoring the discrimination by government, she merely inferred that professional soldiers who didn't finish college are better off because they get equal, if not better pay than the women in professional sectors who are required to have college degrees. Nothing in it suggests soldiers should be paid less; only that teachers and nurses should be paid commensurately for their education.

The Senator sympathizes with the plight of our Filipino soldiers for their daily sacrifices and heroism. Taking off from that premise, the Senator has nothing but the highest respect for our men and women in uniform. In fact, in past budget hearings in the Senate, she and her brother, Senator Alan Cayetano, had proposed among others, that soldiers, regardless of rank, who die in action or are permanently disabled on duty must continue to receive their salaries until they reach the retirement age of 56, even while their children get scholarships in state universities and colleges. Unfortunately, they did not get enough support for the passage og such measure, but they vowed to pursue this for our soldier-heroes in the coming 15th Congress.

Senator Pia Cayetano has consistently fought for the welfare and recognition of our government personnel, including our teachers, health professionals and soldiers -- all of whom play their own crucial roles in society. She will never allow detractors from derailing her goal of making the government fully accountable for their duties and responsibilities to our people.

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