WHILE the government can raise P250 billion that can be used to fund the provision of “10K Ayuda” to every Filipino family, former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has said it does not have to release the amount all at once.
“Sa P250 billion, meron kang two options. One option, bigay mo na yung P10,000 kada pamilya, isang bigayan,” Cayetano said.
“The second option is, ibigay mo na yung P5,000 sa bawat household, at itabi mo yung P150 billion para sa susunod na administrasyon, para kung magka-COVID or tumaas ang presyo ng gasolina, tumagal yung Ukraine-Russia conflict, meron tayong magagamit,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said the P250 billion can be raised by imposing 5% savings on the 2022 budget of all agencies, emphasizing that the government is not helpless in providing wider relief measures to families affected by rising fuel and food costs.
“Hindi totoo na we’re helpless. Mahirap humanap ng pera, pero meron tayong mahahanap. Dapat mag-utos ang President Rodrigo Duterte ng five-percent savings,” he said.
“With a 5% mandatory savings rate, not only can you better help more people now, but you will also enable kung sino man ang susunod na administrasyon,” he added.
The veteran lawmaker said if President Duterte orders all government agencies to set aside 5% of their 2022 budget, the government can fund P10,000 in direct aid to at least 20 million Filipino families.
“Kasi ang kailangan mo lang para mabigyan mo ang lahat ng pamilyang Pilipino hanggang middle class is between P180 to P200 billion,” he said.
He said this was a “counter-proposal” to the Malacañang-approved relief measure given by Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III last week, through which the bottom 50% of Filipino households will each be given P200 monthly to help offset additional costs due to high fuel and food prices triggered by the conflict in Ukraine.
“Maganda ang intention niyan ni Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, at talagang naghahanap siya ng pondo. Idol ko po ‘yan sa gobyerno. Having said that, kung pagbibigyan niya ako mag-propose, si President Fidel Ramos noon, 10% savings lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno; ako ang pino-propose ko, 5% lang,” he said.
The amount has since been raised to P500 by the President, who said the initial subsidy was “too small.”
“I said to look for money, it’s too small, it cannot sustain a family of three, even four, five, the poor have the most children, they are the productive Filipinos for tomorrow, not now,” Duterte said.
Cayetano’s 5% savings proposal is based on efforts made in the mid-1990s by then-President Fidel V. Ramos to reduce the budget deficit.
Ramos mandated government agencies to defund non-essential services and streamline their budgets, levying a 10% cut on agencies that did not submit the required budget reports.
The move enabled the government to reverse years of deficit spending and turn a budget surplus despite the effects of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 and 1998.
Cayetano said because a number of government functions have yet to return to normal, government agencies can still review their budgets and find items that they can skip and convert into savings.
“Sa 5%, P250 billion ang matitipid mo, and tutal Marso pa lang naman ngayon, one-fourth pa lang ng taon, so napakalaking pondo pa ang meron sa P5 trillion budget natin,” he said.