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FORMER house speaker Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Laguna 1st District Representative Dan Hernandez, leads the distribution of P10,000 in cash aid to more than 200 new beneficiaries in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on Friday, under the “Sampung Libong Pag-Asa” initiative.

The said initiative is also to insist the adoption of their “10K Ayuda Bill” in the proposed Bayanihan 3.  

The beneficiaries who received the cash assistance came from 14 different areas in Laguna and either lost their jobs or were forced to take on elementary occupations due to the pandemic.

Orolito Brucal, one of the beneficiaries, was barely making a living selling soft booms.

“Minsan kakahig ka, hindi ka naman tutuka,” he said.

Now, with the restrictions brought about by the health crisis, life has become even worse.

“Naaawa ako sa sarili ko. Hindi ko malaman ang gagawin ko. Pilay ako, pilay ang asawa ko. Ako lang naman ang nagta-trabaho para sa amin,” Brucal added while thumping his chest as he tried to hold back his tears.

He said he had to swallow his pride and accept donations just to survive the current crisis. “Talagang kung hindi dahil sa mga kapitbahay, walang-wala kami dito (If not for our neighbors, we would not survive at all).”

Cayetano, now being called as “Mr. Bayanihan” explains that the “Sampung Libong Pag-asa” beneficiaries were all being found as productive and hard-working people.

“Hindi dole-out itong ibinibigay natin. We researched kung sino ang mapagbibigyan — very productive people, masisipag itong mga ito, tinamaan lang ng COVID,” Cayetano said.

(This is not a dole-out. We researched the deserving beneficiaries. These people are very productive and hard-working. They just happened to be badly hit by the pandemic.)

‘Di ba napansin natin ‘pag sinabing stay at home, maraming hindi sumusunod? Bakit? Eh wala nang makain eh. So ‘yung ‘pag nagbigay ka ng ayuda at may negosyong maliit, pwedeng ‘yung isa na lang ang lumalabas para sa negosyo at ‘yung iba nasa bahay,” Cayetano said.

The “Sampung Libong Pag-Asa” was launched on May 1, with more than 200 Filipinos from all over the country receiving P10,000 in cash assistance raised by Cayetano and his fellow members of the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso movement.

The group had filed the 10K Ayuda Bill in February in a bid to allot P10,000 in direct stimulus per family or P1,500 per family member, whichever is higher.

The bill was considered during the joint hearing conducted by the Committees on Social Services and Economic Affairs on Bayanihan 3 but the 10k provision was not adopted.

“Kung pito kayo sa pamilya, you’ll get P10,500. Pero kung tatlo lang kayo, we don’t want you to get 1,000 each lang; we want you to get P10,000,” the former Speaker said, referring to the 10k Ayuda Bill.

(If there are seven of you in the family, you’ll get a total of P10,500. But if there are only three of you, we don’t want you to get only P1,000 each; we want you to get P10,000 as a family.)

“‘Yung P1,000 each lang, babayaran mo lang tubig at kuryente para di ka maputulan, wala ka nang gagamitin,” he continued.

(If you get only P1,000 each, you won’t have anything left after paying for your water and electricity bill so you don’t get disconnected.)

“Let’s learn from Bayanihan 1 and 2. Bayanihan 1 and 2 were not perfect, but we learned. The more times you make them fall in line, the harder it is for the mayors, the barangay officials, and the police — it’s chaotic,” he added.

On Friday, May 21, the Committee on Appropriations approved the Bayanihan 3. A total of P216 billion was allotted for the cash assistance provision. However, instead of P10,000 per family, the Committees are pushing for only P1,000 per individual.

“When we talk about it on the floor, let’s come up with a practical, very pragmatic, implementable program,” Cayetano said.

Orolito and the rest of the beneficiaries echoed Cayetano’s call.

“Sa mga congressman, sana po ‘wag niyo pong ipagdamot ang sampung libo na dapat ay ipamigay sa mga kapwa Pilipinong naghihirap,” Orolito said.

(To the members of Congress, we hope you don’t deny us the P10,000 that should be given to your fellow Filipinos who are suffering.)

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