Senate Majority Leader Alan Cayetano reiterated the need for the government to institutionalize mechanisms that can also provide rehabilitation aside from relief to victims of calamities and disasters through its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program amid the devastation caused by Typhoon Labuyo.
“Typhoon Labuyo is the 12th of around 20 storms and typhoons projected to hit the Philippines this year. The country is hit by almost the same number of typhoons every year. Apart from our relief efforts, we need a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to help victims get back on their feet,” he stressed.
Typhoon Labuyo, which made a landfall at 45 kilometers west of Casiguran, Aurora on Monday morning, was expected to be the strongest storm to hit the country so far this year. PAGASA, in its 5 a.m. advisory on Monday, placed at least 15 areas under Storm Signal No. 3, six areas under Storm Signal No. 2, and ten areas under Storm Signal No. 1, including Metro Manila.
The Senator explained that aside from increasing the allocation for CCT in the national budget to increase the number of beneficiaries, the government can likewise expand the program further to provide capital to poor families and those who are victims of calamities and disasters as a mechanism for rehabilitation.
“When a victim, for example, is drowning, the first thing to do is provide relief by trying to lift him out of the water. But once he’s out of danger, next thing to do is to equip him with skills and resources to avoid danger,” Cayetano said in Filipino, as he emphasized the importance of initiating rehabilitation efforts after relief has been provided to victims of calamities and disasters.
He stressed that an expanded CCT would pave a way for the rehabilitation of these victims by providing them with an adequate access to capital, which will equip them with enough means to rebuild their source of livelihood.
“While initial relief in the form of goods are needed to help victims of calamities and disasters such as floods, the importance of initiating livelihood projects for the rehabilitation of these victims cannot be undermined,” he said.
Cayetano has suggested that government enact a second-tier program complementary to the CCT program that is currently in effect. He said he envisions the “CCT 2” to be a mechanism that will provide access to capital for poor families and victims of calamities or disasters to start or sustain their own micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME).
“My response to the critics of the CCT program is not to scrap or lessen it. Instead, my proposal is to improve and enhance it to help poor families start their own small businesses,” the Senator said adding that if utilized properly, CCT would be able to help victims ‘get back on their feet’ by being productive small entrepreneurs as a mechanism to ‘rehabilitate’ their lives and regain what they lost.
The program will cater to working class people in need of capital to start their own business,” he added and suggested a procedure wherein a simple certificate indicating that a person has gone through a livelihood seminar would be enough to allow a borrower to avail of a loan grant.
Cayetano explained that enabling the growth of the small and medium enterprises (SME) industry in the country will ensure that Filipinos will have the means to take advantage of the country’s economic gains and provide a decent life for their families amid the occurrence of calamities and disasters.
“If we truly want to protect the people’s interests, we need to have the means to keep them safe both from man-made and natural crises. We cannot afford to add worries about their safety on top of the livelihood woes regarding PTK (Presyo, Trabaho, Kita) – high prices, lack of jobs, low income – that are currently plaguing them,” he said.#