Press Release
June 11, 2013

Cayetano bats for freedom from poverty,
rural empowerment on Independence Day

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano today urged the government to step up its efforts to free Filipinos from poverty as the country marks its 115th celebration of Independence Day.

"A truly independent country should be marked by freedom from hunger, poverty and despair enjoyed by every Filipino," he said. "Decentralizing government and fair funding for small businesses will help us free more Filipinos from poverty; effective decentralized governments units and small business are a key to creating jobs."

At the same time, Cayetano emphasized the importance of involving the local government units (LGUs) in implementing the national government's social and economic programs to ensure that the country's economic gains is spread across all regions and all sectors, and not be concentrated in the urban centers.

"In the fight against poverty, there must also be freedom from traditional governance, where decision-making is centralized in the national government. There should be rural empowerment. Local government units should be empowered and actively involved if we are to bring genuine development to the grassroots, and the regions, especially in rural areas," he said.

"Decentralized decision making is a key to creating jobs, lowering prices, and increasing wages and an important part of my PTK - Presyo, Trabaho, and Kita- agenda."

Cayetano stressed that the country must help small and medium scale businesses and make them feel the 7.8 percent GDP growth that the country has achieved. Cayetano has earlier suggested that the government increase access to capital for business owners by enacting a lending program through strengthened cooperatives.

Earlier this month, Cayetano launched a pilot lending program with the vendors of the New Pritil Market in Tondo as part of his legislative agenda focused on addressing issues related to PTK (Presyo, Trabaho, Kita).

"The P250,000 pilot program will help us see how the lending program will work and how we can enact it in other markets nationwide. This is my anti 5-6 lending program so people won't have to resort to going to 5-6 lenders to keep their businesses afloat," he said.

He also reiterated his proposal of enacting a second-phase Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) system or CCT II to help business owners gain access to capital with only simple requirements such as attending skills training, presentation of business plans and the like. "Efforts towards eradicating poverty should focus on 'enabling' or 'empowering' the poor. We need a system that will give people the opportunity to get on their feet and take care of themselves from then on without the government leading them every step of the way," he said.

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