Press Release
June 10, 2013

Cayetano to CBCP: "Now is the time for ideas, not criticism"

"Now is the time for ideas, not criticism."

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano made an appeal in response to the failing grade given by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to President Benigno Aquino III for failing to curb poverty amid the country's economic growth.

"We all want the poor to feel the effects of economic growth. Personally, I want lower prices, more jobs and higher income for all Filipino families especially the poor, but we should understand that the effects of economic progress takes time. In China and our other Asian neighbors, it took more than a decade for the poor to feel the effects of economic progress. We should be more patient and constructive." he said.

Cayetano also pointed out that while it is true that a lot more needs to be done, the Aquino administration has already accomplished a lot in the arena of curbing poverty.

"In 2011 alone, the government generated 1.156 million jobs - more than it's promised 1 million jobs. Also, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program has yielded tremendous success, vastly increasing the beneficiaries from 800,000 under the previous administration to 3.8 million under the present administration," he said.

For his part, the senator has already pushed for several programs that can be enacted to help bring the country's 7.8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth to all sectors of Philippine society as part of his PTK (Presyo, Trabaho, Kita) legislative agenda to help curb the problems of high prices, lack of jobs, and low income.

To address concerns related to Presyo, Cayetano called for a decrease in gasoline prices through the reconsideration of the application of value-added tax (VAT) on petroleum products. He recalled how in his discussions with various transport groups in the country, the common complaint was that so much of their meager income is lost to the high price of gasoline.

"In my discussion with the tricycle and jeepney drivers during our Listening Tours, one-third of their meager P600/day income goes to buying gas. These drivers barely make enough to bring home P200 home to their families," he said.

To address concerns related to Trabaho, Cayetano proposed to tackle the twin problems of unemployment and underemployment by pushing for an increase in infrastructure spending to create more jobs and by promoting an Education to Employment program. "Better education translates to better jobs," he said.

He also proposed that the government start offering better support to local industries such as furniture, coconut, and shoe industry to boost the generation of jobs and to prevent these industries from dying through the expansion of the existing One Town, One Product (OTOP) program.

Cayetano has also suggested that increasing spending for agricultural and fisheries programs will help boost the generation of livelihood opportunities for Filipino families.

"In my discussions with the coconut farmers of Legazpi for example, they are slowly losing the jobs they've held for so long because the government isn't promoting their industry. I've been saying that we can be the Coconut Hub of Asia if we only offer the right support to this industry," he said.

To address concerns related to Kita, Cayetano has already enacted his plan to end the need for 5-6 lending by increasing small business owners' access to capital by launching a low-interest lending program, which he started with the market vendors of the New Pritil Market in Tondo, Manila.

"This lending program for the Pritil vendors will be the pilot stage for an envisioned nationwide project that will facilitate the delivery of capital to as many sectors as possible that need access to capital," he said.

In line with this vision for better credit access, Cayetano has also proposed a P20 billion program for credit facilities to micro and small businesses gain access to capital through an enactment of a second-phase program to the existing CCT program. Cayetano stressed that now that the economy is on an upswing, all sectors of the country including the Church must come together to ensure that every Filipino family will quickly feel the effects of the country's stellar economic growth.

"We need to put our heads together to come up with programs such as the ones I have suggested to bring the effects of growth to all Filipino families. Let's help each other move up the ladder of growth and not be embroiled in endless criticism," he said.

News Latest News Feed