MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ordered on Friday the expedited rehabilitation of Paliwan Bridge in Bugasong town, Antique province after it collapsed during the onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng in October 2022.
Marcos instructed the Department of Public Works and Highways-Western Visayas (DPWH-6) to prioritize the construction of a new Paliwan bridge, stressing that it is vital in ensuring the smooth transportation of goods in the province.
“Ang epektibo at mabisang pangangasiwa sa daloy ng produkto at serbisyo mula sa sakahan patungo sa merkado ay isa sa mga dapat nating pagtuunan. Parte po dito ang maayos na transportasyon (The effective and efficient management of the flow of products and services from farm-to-market road is one of the things we must address. Proper transportation is part of it),” Marcos said in his speech during the rice distribution in San Jose de Buenavista town.
“Nabanggit ko na po ito sa inyo noong 2022 ngunit uulitin ko, na kailangan gawing prayoridad at madaliin ang rehabilitasyon ng Paliwan Bridge. Inaatasan ko ang Public Works ng Region VI na pagtuunan para agarang magka-aksyon na dito sa pag-ayos at pagbuo nitong programa (I already mentioned this to you in 2022, but I will repeat that the rehabilitation of the Paliwan Bridge must be given priority and expedited. I am instructing the Public Works of Region VI to focus on immediate action in the repair and development of this program),” he added.
Marcos told the DPWH-6 to make sure that the new bridge is “durable and not sub-standard.”
In June, the DPWH said the construction of the new Paliwan Bridge that connects the southern and northern parts of Antique will be completed by April 2024.
Marcos said his administration is serious in addressing the challenges besetting the agriculture sector.
He also ensured the continued distribution of rice to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
The sacks of rice being distributed to 4Ps recipients are among the 42,180 sacks of smuggled rice seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in one of its warehouse raids in Zamboanga City last month.
Marcos said the rice distribution is part of the administration's efforts to address the issues of hoarding and smuggling that have a negative impact on the agricultural sector.
“Ilan lamang ito sa mga sanhi ng pagtaas ng halaga ng bilihin. Kaya naman patuloy ang pagkilos ng gobyerno upang mapuksa ang mga sindikatong sangkot sa ilegal na gawaing ito (These are just some of the reasons for the increase in the commodity prices. That is why the government continues to act to eliminate the syndicates involved in this illegal activity),” Marcos said.
Stable rice prices
In another speech during the distribution of rice in Kalibo, Aklan, Marcos said the government is working on stabilizing the prices of agricultural commodities, particularly rice.
He assured the public of his administration’s relentless efforts to provide Filipinos with affordable food.
In a statement, Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian said the prices of regular and well-milled rice have become “stable” since the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 39, the price ceiling of the two varieties in the market.
“[The] DA price monitoring after lifting the price cap shows a stable rice price at the price cap level,” Sebastian said.
The statement came two days after Marcos ordered the lifting of EO 39.
DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said the majority of the prices of regular and well-milled rice are within and below the PHP41 and PHP45, respectively, based on the DA’s Oct. 5 report.
De Mesa said the DA’s monitoring teams and the Bantay Presyo Task Forces (BPTF) will continue monitoring rice prices in the market, despite the lifting of EO 39.
He noted that the DA has monitored 46 markets in Metro Manila where it observed an overall compliance rate with the mandatory price ceiling of 96.85 percent for regular milled rice and 85.71 percent for well-milled rice.
De Mesa added the BPTF in the regions have also reported that over 89 percent of the well-milled rice retailers and more than 86 percent of regular milled rice retailers are selling within the mandatory price ceiling. (PNA)