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Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano

“E-Bayanihan” bill for calamity victims proposed

PHILIPPINES – “I believe that E-Bayanihan bill is a mechanism that will allow every Filipino with a cellphone in hand to directly contribute and be a “bayani” (hero)  to those affected by disasters and calamities. Imagine how much we can raise for those who need help by simply sending a text message?”

Also known as Resolution No. 319, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano is asking two Senate panels to determine the viability of establishing a more permanent mechanism of enabling millions of Filipinos to send donations to calamity victims using the country’s popular text-messaging system.

Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano
Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano

According to the senator, “this new sense of empowerment will stir up the “bayanihan”  spirit in all of us. I know most of us want to help. All we need is an easier way to do so.”

“There is also a need to ensure that this system of making micro-donations continues to be convenient, reliable, and available at all times to all willing donors, whether based here or abroad, regardless of the size of operations and/or donations, without causing undue burden to the service providers,” he said in the resolution.

Cayetano recalled  that within a span of a month, three natural and man-made disasters have affected a significant number of Filipinos all over the country, citing the just-concluded Zamboanga City crisis, the destruction brought about by typhoon Santi and the recent earthquake that devastated Bohol and Cebu.

“In a country where mobile phones outnumber the population, every texter is a potentialbayani. It would empower every Filipino whose heart goes out to the calamity victims to actually make a difference even with their P1,” the senator said.

He said with 100 million text messages – a small portion of the SMS traffic sent out by Filipinos on a daily basis – some P100 million can be raised through a “text-to-donate” type of system.

Aside from the simple SMS-based system of donating, Cayetano said telcos Smart and Globe have Smart Money and G-Cash, respectively, to assist fund transfers easily from one subscriber to another, thereby making donations easier and quicker.

Cayetano disclosed that he has already written to Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), urging the official to jumpstart negotiations with the Bangko Sentral and mobile service money providers on how a text-based donations scheme can be established as soon as possible. Criselda C. David


Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.