FORMER Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has called on the government to help make education accessible to the people so that all Filipinos can have equal economic opportunities.
“Ang point po kasi, with the right equipment — education — gaganda y’ung opportunity mo sa buhay,” Cayetano said during the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program, which was dedicated to working students.
Cayetano noted that up to 90 percent of students who work do so “out of necessity — para makatapos. Minsan nahihiya sa pamilya na y’ung kapatid hindi nakakapag-aral.”
He said Taguig City has been providing its students with totally free education from pre-school to college in order to equalize socioeconomic opportunities for all Taguigeños.
High school graduates in Taguig automatically become the city’s scholars, with college and post-graduate students entitled to subsidies amounting to P15,000 to P50,000 each. Cayetano said he himself was a working student in college, starting out as a student assistant with a P5 to P6 per hour allowance.
“N’ung summer, nag shipping clerk naman ako. Y’ung ayusin mo ang mga produkto, box mo. Then naging konsehal ako nung fifth year ko sa college. So first two years ko sa law school, nagtatrabaho din ako bilang konsehal,” he said.
He said because of his own experience, he admires students who allot a part of their time and effort to good use.
“Hindi lang po y’ung pera kundi pati y’ung life experience, y’ung leadership [ang nakakamit nila],” he said.
Batangas Sangguniang Kabataan Provincial Federation President Maria Louise Vale, meanwhile, thanked Cayetano and his allies for the P10,000 in cash aid provided to 141 working students.
She said the cash aid brought “renewed hope” to her fellow Batangueño youth who decided to juggle studies and work due to poverty.
“‘Yun po ang way nila para… makatulong po sa kanilang pamilya nang sa gan’on ay magkaroon sila ng magandang kinabukasan po,” Vale said.
Cayetano said the cash aid is not just assistance but is “part of an economic plan” that he and his allies are working to include in the 2022 National Budget.
“Ginagawa ito sa iba’t-ibang bansa,” he said, emphasizing that in 2022, the national budget will increase by P500 billion.
The 141 working students Batangas, Toledo City in Cebu, Iloilo City, and Bacolod City.
An additional 50 beneficiaries were randomly selected from Facebook live viewers.
Cayetano was joined in the program by Batangas 2nd District Rep. Raneo “Ranie” E. Abu and Andrei Felix.
Joining them live from various areas were Taguig 2nd District Rep. Maria Laarni “Lani” L. Cayetano, Dr. Maria Reina D. Abu, Board Member Maria Louise G. Vale of the Sangguniang Kabataan Provincial Federation, Denise Tan, Batangas 4th District Representative Lianda B. Bolilia, City Councilor Julian Villena, and Michael Villena.
Cayetano said the P10,000 cash aid was not only meant to help students “survive” but to “thrive” amid the pandemic.
“Hopefully, kahit nagtatrabaho na nag-aaral, baka with their family magkaroon ng kaunting business,” he said.
He also encouraged the Filipino youth to “not be afraid to ask for help.”
“Kayo ang ating future, kaya don’t give up (You are our future, so please do not give up),” he said.