Press Release
November 29, 2013

Cayetano submits P22.8B amendment to 2014 GAA
Pushes for PTK, education, peace and order programs

"Dapat walang naiiwanan. Aanhin natin ang pag-unlad kung hindi ito ramdam, lalo na ng mga mahihirap. Ang kailangan natin ay kaunlarang ramdam ng lahat, hindi ng iilan lamang."

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter "Compañero" S. Cayetano made this statement as he submitted P22.85-billion worth of proposed amendments to the 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA) to fund several programs next year that would enable the country's economic growth to be felt by all Filipinos, especially the poor.

"The amendments that we have submitted are predicated on the firm conviction that all Filipinos must be able to partake of and feel the benefits of our country's economic improvement," Cayetano said in his letter to Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

"Our amendments focus on the sectors of society often left behind by the mad rush towards development - the farmers, fisherfolk, policemen, teachers, workers and the youth - and endeavor to ensure that the national budget that we pass addresses their felt needs."

The Senate leader has clustered his proposed amendments into three categories: Presyo, Trabaho, Kita (PTK) (P12 billion); Pro-Business Philippines (P2.85 billion); and Education (P8 billion), for a total of P22.85 billion which will be distributed to the following departments and agencies: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Cayetano launched his PTK campaign during his re-election bid early this year, shunning appearances in big political meetings and rallies in favor of what he called as "Listening Tours," where he conducted dialogues with the poorest of the poor and discussed their actual needs.

Of the many needs of the people, he explained, one stood out as a general sentiment: a poor and very limited access to capital, especially for micro entrepreneurs.

"A highlight of our proposal is to provide P500 million per region for sustainable livelihood and microfinance. When people have access to capital, they become contributors and active agents of an inclusive economy," Cayetano said in his letter.

He proposed to allocate P10 billion to DTI for this proposal, broken down to P500 million for each of the 17 regions in the Philippines and P1.5 billion for the DTI central office for allocation to areas with special business opportunities.

Another P2 billion, he said, should be allocated to BFAR under the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the enhancement of the productivity of fisherfolks.

Under the Pro-Business Philippines category, Cayetano highlighted the need for the improvement of the peace and order situation in the country in order for businesses to flourish.

One way to improve the peace and order is to move for more police visibility, which he hopes to have corresponding multiplier effects especially to the economy.

He proposed the additional allocation of P2.85 billion to the PNP broken down into the following: P1 billion - or P50 million for each region - to be used for installation of CCTVs nationwide (amount in excess to be used in critical areas); P850 million - or P50 million per region - for the establishment of crime labs; and P1 billion - or P50 million per region - for the acquisition of new vehicles (amount in excess to be used in critical areas).

Cayetano stressed that these allocations are on top of what the PNP plans to procure next year as part of their expenditures for capital outlay.

For education, Cayetano is pushing for the allocation of P8 billion to fund the scholarship grants of some 400,000 state scholars who rely on the now-unconstitutional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

He also asked the Committee on Finance to ensure that all public school teachers are well-paid and that schoolbuildings are conducive for learning.

Special focus, he added, should be given to schools, state universities and colleges (SUCs) as well as students whose lives were destroyed or severely damaged by natural calamities especially those affected by super typhoon Yolanda.

"I hope that these amendments will be included in the General Appropriations Act for 2014 in order to show our people that the government will address their most pressing needs and allow them to really feel the benefits of our growing economy," Cayetano noted.

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