Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said the government needs to start providing direct forms of assistance not only to individuals but to businesses to keep the economy running amid the pandemic.
In a radio interview with DZRH on May 21, Cayetano said the government cannot “simply wait for the vaccine rollout to be completed or for the pandemic to be over” as the COVID-19 virus is evolving.
Instead, the government “needs to get ahead of it” by ensuring the businesses will continue to operate, preventing further loss in economic activity.
“Kasi nga, kapag hindi sila nagsara, may buwis ang gobyerno, ang empleyado may sweldo. Kapag nagsara, kargo-kargo ng gobyerno ang empleyado,” Cayetano said.
(If they don’t close down, government will get taxes, employees will get paid. If they close down, the employees will become government’s burden.)
He recommended providing businesses with cash assistance, incentives, or protective equipment.
“Kung titingnan mo sa ibang bansa, let’s say restaurant at resort, sila mismo nagbibigay ng tulong sa pang-ventilation, ‘yung meta-filters, engineering solutions, ‘yung mga acrylic, PPEs, et cetera,” he said.
(If you look at other countries, let’s say restaurants and resorts, government itself helps them provide ventilation, meta-filters, engineering solutions, acrylic, personal protective equipment, et cetera.)
“Ngayon, businesses are as hard-hit as individuals. Napakarami nating mga kababayan na yung hard-earned nila — lifetime savings, nag-OFW sila for 30 years, pinasok sa negosyo; nangutang, pinasok sa negosyo,” he added.
(Now businesses are as hard-hit as individuals. We have so many people who invested their hard earned money — lifetime savings, what they earned from 30 years of working as overseas Filipino workers, and even taking out loans.)
The former Speaker said he also hopes the next stimulus package “will really be transformative and will really listen to the businesses.”
“Rather than idikta sa business, ‘Ito tulong namin,’ ay makinig tayo sa mga business. Ano ba kailangan n’yo para mabuhay at hindi kayo magsara?” he said.
(Rather than dictating on businesses what kind of help will be given, let’s listen to them. What do they need in order to survive and not close down?)
He cited how enlisting the help of malls in Taguig became beneficial to the businesses, the city government, and workers.
“Bakit po sa mall? Aside from yung facilities, eh kung 400 to 800 na tao every day nand’on, magkakaroon ng economic activity,” Cayetano said.
(Why do we do it inside malls? Aside from the facilities, there would be economic activity if there are 400 to 800 people there everyday.)
“Nakatipid din ang gobyerno kasi nasa kanila ‘yung kuryente and everything else,” he added.
(And government saves money because the malls shoulder the cost of electricity and everything else.)###