Public office is a public trust, and therefore should be transparent and accountable to the people at all times.
Thus stressed Senator Pia S. Cayetano, who has filed a measure that will mandate the installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) systems in all government offices throughout the country.
Called the ‘Surveillance Camera for Government Establishments Act’ (SBN 503), Cayetano said her proposal seeks to capture on video the day-to-day transactions of government offices, especially those rendering frontline services.
She added that CCTVs will help deter corrupt practices, such as public officials asking for kickbacks or bribes to hasten government transactions.
Further, SBN 503 is aligned with government’s commitments to attain Goal 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is to build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
“Ridding our institutions of corruption means better quality social services, which would help the country achieve all SDGs by 2030,” she noted.
The bill mandates surveillance cameras with audio recording technology to be installed and maintained within the premises of government offices, especially in the country’s immigration counters, land transportation offices, customs, internal revenue offices, permits offices, and land transportation offices.
The surveillance cameras shall always be switched on and recording on a 24/7 basis. Security employees or personnel shall be specifically tasked to monitor the video feeds.
Meanwhile, areas requiring privacy like restrooms, shower rooms, changing rooms, and the like are exempted from the installation of CCTV cameras. Concerned government offices shall also prohibit any use, viewing, disclosure, or publication of video recordings that are not within the mandate of the proposed measure.
The use of video records shall only be allowed in specific instances where they are needed: for the investigation or prosecution of a punishable offense; for a pending criminal or civil proceeding; for the avoidance of an imminent threat to persons or property; or to ascertain the identity of a criminal perpetrator.
The senator’s proposal is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge for Congress to help end corruption in government, a call which he reiterated during his fourth State of the Nation Address.
The President earlier made the same suggestion to install CCTV cameras in government offices to monitor the activities of employees and help avoid corruption. #
As chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, it is my job to present to my colleagues all the information they need to make an informed decision on the priority tax reforms of the Duterte government.
I believe that the 15-18 months timetable projected by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III will give our committee and my colleagues reasonable time to study and vote on the four priority measures*.
This would require regular hearings and consultations with our economic managers, tax experts, and all concerned sectors. The process would be tedious, but I have been preparing myself for the challenge of getting the job done.
On the other hand, I don’t want to give my colleagues the impression that I am rushing them. Having said this, I am aware that the Department of Finance team has made themselves available for senators who would want to have access to relevant data and technical information.
I have started consultations with the DOF, and I plan to hold an organizational meeting next week, now that the members of the Committee have been nominated and approved in plenary. #
*Statement in reaction to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III’s projection that it would take the House and Senate 15-18 months to deliberate and vote on four tax reform measures of the Duterte government for the 18th Congress:
Comprehensive Tax Reform Program Package 2: Comprehensive Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act
Package 2+ Sin taxes for universal health care
Package 3 Real property valuation reform
Package 4 Passive income and financial intermediary tax
Senator Cayetano: Dear colleagues, I’d like to commend everyone. There is no plastic bottle on our tables today. Congratulations, I know that’s an effort. We all have the right to drink water, of course, or whatever beverage of choice. But you make an effort because of our collective desire to use less plastic.
So kung kulang pa yung binigay ko sa inyong bamboo bottle, hingi kayo kay Ralph sa next batch, para mauwi niyo, para magamit niyo.
Anyway, so my manifestation, Mr. President, is on a similar note. In 2010, my office, along with an NGO called Mother Earth, initiated with the Senate recycling, reusing, and the establishment of an MRF. An MRF is a Material Recovery Facility.
And, to cut a very interesting story short, we were able to cut in half our garbage in one month. This is around 2011. That is the MRF that we put up. [Points to a photo of the Senate MRF flashed on the monitor] So they collect, they segregate, etc. and the garbage delivery went down from once a week to every other week, which is half.
But this information I have was in, 2011, so that was the 15th Congress, if I am not mistaken. We don’t have new data and so my request would be for the Secretariat to update us on how much garbage we [generate] and what are we doing to recycle it.
To give our colleagues an idea of how much paper we are currently using, I have asked my staff to put together [gestures to show pile of paper consisting of agenda, order of business, journal and other documents issued per senator per wek] – this is what we consumed in one week. This is… each pile is one senator. This is not even what you consume in your office, with the papers. But this is what the Secretariat produces for us. This is the reference of business, the agenda, the journal.
So on that note – thank you – My proposal the last time was that, it’s a personal choice to decide, if there are things that you can forego. Like for example, in my case, I am willing to look at the agenda on my laptop, I am willing to look at the reference of business on my laptop as well. I am old-school so a lot of the bills, I want to put it on hand-written notes, so there are some things that I can’t forego. But it’s just that we talk about it and we decide for ourselves and collectively what we are willing to do.
We need to lead by example, Mr. President. And that’s why I bring it up to all of us. Just for the body’s information, that was 90 pages per senator, produced by the Secretariat for us, not even counting whatever you produce in your own offices.
So that is my manifestation, Mr. President, that the Secretariat update us on the status of our MRF, the status of the collection. By the way, our garbage collection bill went down, because we only had to have it collected every other week. But again, this is outdated information because this is a few years back.
So may we ask the Secretariat to update us in the next few days of weeks? [Senate President Sotto responds]
SP Sotto: I am informed that the Secretariat will be ready to inform us on this matter by tomorrow.
Senator Cayetano: Thank you. And on that note, Mr. President, I also suggest that perhaps we can also have our own Senate app, because you can easily do a PDF of the reference of business, but it’s not always the easiest way to make your notes or to comment. But if we have our own app, exclusively for the senators, the staff, and the Secretariat, you can actually use something as basic as Google Documents wherein you can put your comments to share with your staff. Something again that I would just like the Secretariat and the leadership to consider.
Thank you very much, Mr. President!
*Manifestation delivered at the Senate session on Monday, August 5, 2019.
Reporter: Ma’am, ‘Yung una po muna, hingi lang pong reaction dun sa biro ng Pangulo kahapon na, “When will your dynasty end?”
Sen. Pia: Yeah, so first of all, biro nga ‘yun, ‘diba? So biro ‘yun, so if you ask me, biro. So I’ll leave it at that, kasi there are more important issues there. And that’s the TESDA App that was just launched [in Taguig City], which I feel is so interesting. And I think we should draw attention to what the important issues are, not a joke.
But on that note, that is also something that I’m always willing to talk about. Kasi when you talk about dynasty, I always ask, let’s talk about governance. And I think with all due humility, the President’s high regard for our family, for my brother, is evident in no less than his being his endorsed Speaker.
So, we’re so proud… I call on everyone to judge the new Speaker on the work that he will do. I’m so excited to be back in the Senate. I’m so excited for the work that I have to do as the new Chair of the Committee of Ways and Means and Chair also of the Committee on Sustainable Development.
So, we want to be judged on the work that we do. That’s an open book, and we want to really do the kind of job that will make the Filipinos proud that they elected us. Let’s make it clear, we were elected.
Reporter: Ma’am, does it also mean that you as part of the Senate or Congress will not support the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill?
Sen. Pia: No. I’ve always said and you can always just refer to my statements on this. I always have an open mind on any issue that is brought on the floor. That has always been the position I’ve taken.
I may have biases, so when you look… I did a quick scan on the political dynasty bills, and there are different definitions of political dynasty. So… it’s my job to have an open mind and to look at it.
Reporter: ‘Yung Dissolution of Marriage Bill niyo po, can you explain lang, divorce po ba ito? Ano po ang mga magiging changes nito compared sa annulment?
Sen. Pia: That’s a very good question. And I think ang question niyo should be directed at those people who do not like the term “divorce.” You should ask them what they mean by dissolution of marriage versus divorce because I do not know.
I humbly have to say that I do not know what the difference is, but as one of the authors of the bill in the House of Representatives, I believe it was entitled, “Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage” precisely to address the discomfort that some had with the term, “divorce.”
But if may difference ‘yun, the title is there… But ako naman, as the author here also in the Senate, happy naman ako to listen to any and all concerns. I’m just happy that it’s being discussed.
For the record, there are three kinds of bills that were filed in the House. And I’ve refiled so far two of them – the Absolute Divorce or Dissolution [of Marriage], that’s one. And then the other one is the Foreign Divorce, which is actually already an existing form of divorce, actually the only form of divorce recognized in our Family Code.
We just fine-tuned some details, which we were told for the last almost decade na it becomes a stumbling block for making that provision in the existing Family Code easy to use. It’s become very cumbersome for people to use because of lack of clarity. So ‘yun lang ‘yung sa Foreign Divorce.
Reporter: Ma’am, sa dissolution of marriage, paano siya naiba sa annulment, ma’am?
Sen. Pia: If you look at Article 36 on Annulment, the only ground there is the psychological incapacity. That is the existing ground that we have under our Family Code. So the grounds for divorce that I filed, there are more grounds. Some of them are similar to the grounds for legal separation. So that’s the easiest way.
You know what, I’d be very happy to have a forum on this and to answer more questions, kasi well it’s something that I’ve really worked on and I really believe in, so I’m happy to answer questions para walang… para people would understand, parang FAQs.
Reporter: Why do you think is it time for the Philippines to legalize divorce?
Sen. Pia: My answer to that is based on scientific evidence. We went to three countries, [for consultations held by] the House of Representatives, where we had a lot of kababayans.
I would say it’s partly because of that one bill, that is on the Foreign Divorce, because we have so many kababayans who are married to foreigners. But we also realized that so many of our kababayans are married to Filipinos and therefore, their need would be a regular divorce or dissolution of marriage.
And so we went to Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Japan, and we had hearings in the House and I have met with so many groups espousing divorce, and the stories are so sad. I hear one story, I think, “Wow, this is the worst,” and then I hear another story, it’s about mostly women – but of course it applies to both – women who after their husbands have left them, beaten them up, had another family, had other wives, they’re still supporting that man. Because under the law, they are required to support the man.
And even – in this particular story – even her grown children were saying, “Nay, iwanan mo na si Tatay.” Eh pero she feels that she has a legal obligation, a moral obligation, until ma-divorce ‘yun. Baka sabihin niyo, ba’t hindi annulment? Eh kasi sa annulment, some of them don’t want to avail of it, because wala naman daw silang psychological incapacity to fulfill their obligations. Pinaninindigan nila na hindi sila pasok doon.
You can… As soon as we start discussing this, I know that my Facebook will be flooded with questions on divorce. Kahit anong topic ang pag-usapan, laging meron pa ring bumabalik sa divorce. And all over the country, during the campaign, I was asked repeatedly about it…
Reporter: Have you looked at the chances here in the Senate?
Sen. Pia: I haven’t really bothered. As you know nga, the committees that I will be chairing this Congress are new to me. So, dun ako naka-focus. I haven’t really had time. It’s just that I’ve also read what you’ve read na most people tend to be open-minded because they’ve also heard stories of people they know, people who come to them. So I’d like to believe, I’d like to hope that people would have an open mind.
And what I always reiterate, for those who are against it, you don’t have to avail of it. For those who are against it, in your own church, in your own religious organization, you can continue to believe what you want to believe. That is your supreme right. And never ko po aapakan or never ko… Wala ho akong karapatan na kwestyunin ang paniniwala ng mga tao when it comes to spiritual and religious reasons.
But when it comes to legal, it is my obligation to have an open mind and pass laws that will be applicable to all Filipinos who want to avail of it. Kasi remember, this is a kind of law that is not mandatory, this is a kind of law people can avail of. ‘Yun ‘yun eh, may difference ‘yun.
Reporter: So parang it’s a privilege?
Sen. Pia: Let’s say it’s an option. Baka mamaya may legal implication pa ‘yung privilege. It’s an option.
Reporter: Sorry ma’am, additional grounds, irreconcilable differences, ano pa ‘yung mga possible grounds?
Sen. Pia: Give me time na balikan ko ‘yun, kasi ganun ako eh. Move on na ako sa ibang bills after napasa ‘yun sa House. I was hoping napasa na ‘yun sa [17th] Congress. Let me just go back to it and then I’ll discuss it further.
Reporter: Last na po, aside from the grounds, what else are the advantages of divorce over annulment? Kasi sabi nila may annulment na nga bakit pa may divorce?
Sen. Pia: Ah hindi. Kasi if you look at our provision on Annulment, any law student can tell you, we have one article on it. That’s it. One article – Article 36. There’s actually no provisions on support, they just use by analogy other provisions on support. There are no provisions on the procedure, so the bill that we filed, the bill that is the product of the House…
I’ll reiterate ‘House,’ kasi I was in the House of Representatives, lagay niyo na lang ‘yun as background, baka malito ang ibang tao na what I’m talking about na bill na na-hear, that was while I was in the House. This is a product of lengthy discussions and so there’s a lot more details in it, including support, including what is known in other countries as alimony, napag-usapan din ‘yun kasi issue ‘yun. Some believe na in other countries, dahil sa walang forever, pero ‘yung support may forever. So mabigat daw, mabigat.
So we had long discussions about that, and we tried to look for middle ground na there would be, if I remember right, please let’s confirm it lang, three years of support for the spouse who was dependent on the working spouse. Kasi ‘yung objective nga is mag-move on ka na, try to get gainfully employed also, give that person enough time to also gainfully…
But I wanna have an open mind about it if kailangan longer, kasi the objective din naman is to not abandon the spouse who dedicated their life to being a homemaker, whether it’s a man or a woman, it applies both ways.
But kaya ko rin naisip na hindi rin tama na ‘yung forever kasi paano kung ‘yung breadwinner, katulad ng mga na-meet ko na OFW? Tapos 20 years na siyang nagtatrabaho dun, sinusuportahan niya ang asawa niya, and then worst case, ‘yung asawa niya na nambabae na nagkaanak na sa iba, baka siya pa magbibigay ng support forever because siya ang technically working, you know what I mean?
So you have to weigh these things. Sasabihin, yeah, pero si mister naman sa bahay ‘yung nag-aalaga ng mga anak, pero nangaliwa din siya. So iba-balance mo rin lahat ‘yun eh. So, I can’t pretend that there’s a simple, easy, hundred percent fair, but we have to do our best.
Reporter: ‘Yung finile niyo po, that was the same bill that was passed in the House last [17th] Congress?
Sen. Pia: Yes, but I’m very open pa to even making my own amendments to it.
Reporter: So kung ano ang pumasa sa House, ‘yun ang ni-refile niyo?
Sen. Pia: Oo, kasi you have to remember, that was a product of members of the House. Eh nandito na ako [Senate, 18th Congress], so kapag nandito naman ako, minsan naman nagkakaroon din ako ng bagong ideas, and then syempre… Ano naman ‘yun, kumbaga free for all ulit.
Sen. Pia: Ay tapos na siya, pasado siya [by the House in the 17th Congress]. Oo, walang nangyari dito [sa Senate in the 17th Congress].
Sen. Pia: That’s a good question, I have to say that it’s kinda my observation also, I don’t know kung may survey talaga. But it’s kinda my observation pagka ganun, ‘yung mga babae, “Yes!” Ta’s ‘yung mga lalaki, “‘Wag na ‘yan…”
Reporter: Pero do you find it a relief na ‘yung mga [inaudible – senators] most of them at least open to discussion?
Sen. Pia: Ganito, sa dami ng trabaho ko, kasi nga ‘yung mga bagong committees ko, and again, I have to emphasize ‘yung Committee on Sustainable Development, andaming sakop nun, syempre happy ako kung kahit anong bill na sinusulong ko maraming support, dahil mababawasan din ‘yung trabaho ko dahil wala na ako masyadong kukumbinsihin. So I’m always happy naman na open-minded, or may support, or willing to discuss, I’m always happy. Thank you!#
In past Congresses, I focused on the delivery of social services like education and health. Now, I have the opportunity to continue this advocacy from a finance perspective.
As chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, I look forward to working with our counterparts in the House of Representatives and our economic managers led by the Finance Department in exploring ways to fund social services for our people.
I have started consultations with the DOF and soon will conduct hearings, open to all sectors. Our goal is to ensure steady, sustainable development to uplift the lives of the Filipino families.#
A green, bikeable, and walkable Metro Manila? It can be done!
Senator Pia S. Cayetano is pushing for two measures that she hopes would augur the transformation of Metro Manila and other urban centers in the country into sustainable cities and communities.
Cayetano’s Senate Bill No.65, the ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities Act,’ envisions urban centers and human settlements that are ‘inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable,’ in line with the country’s commitments under Goal 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The bill tasks local governments to ensure public access to social services, preferential use of renewable resources, efficient waste management systems, as well as reliable mass transport, among others.
Under the measure, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shall set targets based on key indicators to determine whether a city or community has fully transitioned into a sustainable city or community.
The NEDA indicators shall measure how local governments units (LGUs) are managing urban population living in slums, public transportation access, sustainable urbanization rate (ratio of land utilization to population growth rate), and urban planning.
The targets would also factor in the performance of local governments with respect to cultural heritage protection, disaster preparedness, pollution control, and solid waste management.
The bill assigns the Department of interior and Local Government to provide technical assistance to LGUs, while NEDA would come up with an incentive system for local governments that are able to meet their sustainable development targets.
On the other hand, Cayetano’s Senate Bill No.66, or the ‘Sustainable Transportation Act,’ seeks to promote mobility options to serve the people’s changing needs, such as walking, biking, and efficient mass transportation.
The bill pushes for sustainable and alternative modes of transport, not just to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to cut time and travel costs, and to promote an active lifestyle among citizens.
It mandates the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to come up with a Sustainable Transport Action Plan that shall lay down the roadmap for national and local transportation systems to be adhered to in all levels throughout the country.
Some highlights of the Sustainable Transport Action Plan are as follows:
-Installation of walkways;
– Designation of bike lanes and provision of bike racks and parking spaces;
-Public transportation as primary mobility option to the general public;
– Establishment of a ferry system;
– Commissioning of a bus rapid transit system; and
– Travel demand management programs (which includes promotion of car pooling and telecommuting programs).
Known as a biker and fitness enthusiast, Cayetano said it is high time to revisit our way of thinking and lifestyle in order to safeguard people’s health and the environment.
She cited the successful rehabilitation of Boracay and current efforts to clean up urban sidewalks, waterways, and public places of obstructions by newly elected mayors of Metro Manila as encouraging signs that urban renewal is possible.
“We need political will at the local level to enforce laws and ordinances to put our cities in order, but it’s also the task of government to set an overall vision to achieve sustainable cities and communities. And so we hope to provide that vision with these two measures,” Cayetano concluded. #
Returning senator Pia S. Cayetano has filed her first 10 bills in the Senate with the aim of fulfilling her campaign promise to champion legislation that will help achieve the country’s development goals.
Her proposed measures, Cayetano stressed, are anchored on the government’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations (UN) Member-States, including the Philippines, in 2015.
The PDP 2017-2022 is the first medium-term plan launched by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) under the Duterte administration, leading to a vision known as “AmBisyon Natin 2040,” where Filipino families are seen to enjoy a “strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life” in 25 years.
The SDGs, meanwhile, are a collection of 17 global goals set by the UN General Assembly, with strategies geared towards improving health and education, reducing inequality, spurring economic growth, and addressing climate change. In line with these goals, Cayetano filed her first batch of bills in the Senate and plans to file more measures in the coming weeks to address challenges hindering sustainable and inclusive growth for the country.
Furthermore, she vowed to continue focusing on her long-time advocacies as a legislator, including education, health, women and family welfare, and sustainable communities.
Among Cayetano’s priority measures are:
1. Alternative Child Care Code of the Philippines
2. Educational Roadmap Act
3. Priority Health Infrastructure Act (Build, Build, Build for Health)
4. Priority Infrastructure for Public Higher Education Institutions Act (Build, Build, Build for Education)
5. Sustainable Cities and Communities Act
6. Sustainable Transportation Act
7. Act Recognizing the Foreign Decree of Termination of Marriage
8. Amendments to the Family Code of the Philippines (to ensure the equality of men and women under the laws of marriage and family relations)
9. Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Act
10. Act Providing for Additional Support and Compensation for Educators in Basic Education (Teachers salary increase)
“We already have a set of goals that we envision for future generations of Filipinos. What we need is a comprehensive action plan to ensure that our goals will be met,” Cayetano said.
“For my part, I will continue what I started since my first term as a legislator and push for more laws to empower Filipinos through education, proper healthcare services, children and family welfare policies, and sustainable development,” the senator concluded.#
A few days before the upcoming mid-term elections on May 13, senatorial candidate Pia S. Cayetano expressed her gratitude to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his show of support for her bid to return to the Senate.
“Napakahalaga ng endorsement ng ating Pangulo. It has a great impact and it is very personal to me,” the congresswoman said in a radio interview in Davao City on Thursday (May 9).
Cayetano shared that her close relationship with the President dates back to the first time she ran for Senate in 2003, during which she sought the support of the then Davao City Mayor, who was also friends with her late father, former Senator Rene Cayetano.
“[President Duterte] had always supported me as a senator. I also used to visit him in Davao to seek his advice on relevant issues, and he would share with me his perspective as a mayor,” Cayetano noted.
“Kaya tuwing sinasabi niya na maayos ang trabaho ko, it really means a lot to me dahil alam kong alam niya ang aking trabaho,” she added. President Duterte had expressed his support for Cayetano’s senatorial bid on several occasions, stressing that the lady lawmaker has legislated “so many good things for the Filipino people.”
He also said that it was Cayetano who asked him to sign into law the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Act for the benefit of working mothers. Cayetano was among the proponents of the bill in Congress.
“The President knows that I am happy with the enactment of this landmark measure. I am very grateful that he appreciates my work for Filipino women,” the Taguig representative said.
“If given the chance, I will continue to look for more solutions to address the concerns of Filipino families throughout the country,” Cayetano concluded. #
‘Perfect gift for HREP women employees on Women’s Month’
House Deputy Speaker and Taguig City representative Pia S. Cayetano on Monday led the inauguration of the first breastfeeding room for nursing female employees of the House of Representatives (HREP) in Quezon City.
The breastfeeding room resulted from the initiative of Cayetano, who had written the House leadership requesting the establishment of the facility as mandated by law. A similar request was also made to the House leaders in a separate letter sent by a group of breastfeeding mothers employed at the House.
It was Cayetano, then a senator, who pushed for the passage of Republic Act 10028, or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act, which mandated paid lactation breaks for nursing mothers during work hours, and the establishment of lactation rooms in public places and facilities, as well as government and private offices.
The landmark law was signed in 2009 by then President and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Thank you to everyone who made this happen. To [Committee on Women and Gender Equality chair, Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy], to the Speaker and Secretary General… I hope we can continue working together to support women in the workforce,” Cayetano said.
“If there are three mothers this month that will have the pleasure of using this lactation room, that would translate to three babies being breastfed longer and protected better,” she added.
“What could be a better gift for nursing employees of the House of Representatives on Women’s Month than a breastfeeding room they could access in their own workplace? This facility is also open to non-employees, or breastfeeding mothers who happen to be visiting Congress,” she continued.
“I hope we can see the establishment of more lactation rooms in the next months to come. The objective is to make it convenient for a mother to breastfeed. We want breastfeeding to be thefirst choice and, if possible, the only choice for mothers to ensure the health of our children,” Cayetano said.
The former senator was joined at the inauguration by Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, House Acting Secretary General Dante Roberto Maling, HREP officials and pregnant and nursing employees of the House.
This was not the first time the Taguig representative personally worked for the proper implementation of RA 10028 in an institution tasked to craft and pass laws. During her term as Senator, Cayetano also pushed for the opening of a breastfeeding room at the Philippine Senate headquarters in Pasay City. #
Senatorial candidate and House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano, in partnership with the city government of Taguig, led the third Disability Sports Clinic and Competition, an annual sportsdevelopment program for the city’s differently-abled community.
The participants – including children and youth with hearing, speech, orthopedic, and learning disabilities – were given the opportunity to learn different sports, such as table tennis, futsal,basketball, volleyball, chess, and darts.
“Ang paniniwala ko talaga is that sports enables people, especially children. It embeds in their minds the idea that, ‘I can do more, I can do better,’ and so I always want to ensure that even those with disabilities would have that opportunity,” the congresswoman and known sports advocate explained.
She added that the annual sports project opens doors for persons with disabilities (PWDs) to learn new skills and discover their athletic and physical talents. “I hope and pray that this activity will embolden them to try to achieve more, and not to be scared of any limitations,” said Cayetano, author of Republic Act 10070, which mandates the establishment of a Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) in all local government units. Cayetano is also the founder of Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation, which provides medical and financial assistance for sick and differently-abled children. The foundation was established inmemory of her own son, Gabriel Rene Cayetano Sebastian, who passed away in 2001 due to complications from a rare disease called Trisomy 13.
“It is the third year that we are doing this sports activity here in Taguig. But I’ve actually been doing this for around 17 to 18 years. Ang anak kong si Gabriel was born with multiple disabilities. In his memory, ‘yung foundation kong Gabriel’s Symphony has been doing [similar] activities all over the country,” Cayetano noted.
The congresswoman, who is now running for senator under the Nacionalista Party in the upcoming midterm polls, expressed her commitment to continue promoting the rights of PWDs and ensuring the enactment of inclusive programs to give them livelihood and job opportunities and better access to government services. #