Marcos: El Niño or La Niña, gov’t always ready to help

By Darryl John Esguerra

May 16, 2024, 12:41 pm

<p>President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. <em>(RTVM Screengrab)</em></p>

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (RTVM Screengrab)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has assured the Filipinos that the government is ready to assist at all times, be it in times of drought or the looming rainy season.

Speaking at the distribution of assistance to farmers, fisherfolk and other beneficiaries affected by extreme drought in Iligan City on Thursday, Marcos said no region or province would be left behind in the provision of government aid as the country continues to experience the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon.

“Narito po ang inyong pamahalaan sa lahat ng oras. Sa panahon ng tagtuyot at paparating na tag-ulan, handa po kaming umagapay sa inyong lahat (Your government is here at all times. During the dry season and the upcoming rainy season, we are ready to support you all),” Marcos said.

“Sa ilalim ng Bagong Pilipinas, walang manlalamang at walang malalamangan. Walang mang-iiwan at walang maiiwanan. Lahat po tayo ay sabay-sabay na hahakbang tungo sa mas maunlad na kinabukasan (In the New Philippines, no one will take advantage of others and no one will be taken advantage of. No one will prosper on their own and no one will be left behind. We will all step together toward a more prosperous future),” he added.

Marcos personally handed out assistance, including PHP10,000 financial aid from the Office of the President to select beneficiaries.

He also provided PHP10.5 million in Presidential assistance to the local government of Iligan City, while the provincial governments of Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental received PHP13.9 million and PHP24.3 million, respectively.

Moreover, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) distributed PHP10,000 each to 9,588 select beneficiaries composed of farmers, fisherfolk, and families.

Additionally, the Office of House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez distributed five kilograms of rice to each attendee.

This is the fourth time the President personally led the provision of government assistance to areas severely affected by El Niño.

Service under the sun

Marcos explained that he wanted to deliver the assistance personally to affected Filipinos to witness their situation and hear their grievances.

At one point in his speech, the President even joked that his wife, First Lady Liza Marcos-Araneta, had already noticed the change in his complexion and the sunburns he got from going around the country to deliver the assistance.

"Sinusuyod natin ang buong kapuluan upang maghatid ng tulong sa mga napinsala ng matinding tag-init at tagtuyot dahil sa nangyayaring El Niño, kaya napansin ng aking maybahay nagka sunburn na daw ako sa kakabigay ng tulong pero wala tayo magagawa (We are going around the entire archipelago to deliver aid to those who have been affected by the extreme heat and drought due to El Niño, so my wife noticed that I got a sunburn from giving aid but there is nothing we can do)," Marcos said.

"Ito talaga mga kulay ng Ilokano, sanay sa mabilad sa araw lalo na kung ito ay para magsilbi sa taumbayan, para sa inyo (This is the skin color of Ilocanos, we're used to being exposed to the sun especially if it is to serve the people, for you)," he added.

The weather bureau earlier reported that El Niño continues to weaken and the country is now transitioning to neutral conditions and eventually to La Niña or the rainy season.

NorMin as leading agri hub

In the same speech, the Chief Executive also shared his administration’s plan to make Northern Mindanao region (Region 10) a leading agricultural hub in the country.

He said the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has already laid out the blueprint for the region’s continued prosperity, citing the Northern Mindanao Regional Development Plan 2023-2028.

“Hangad po nito na gawing 'globally competitive' at 'leading agricultural hub,' 'major industrial, tourism, trade center' ang buong Region 10 (This aims to make Region 10 a globally competitive and a leading agricultural hub, and a major industrial, tourism, trade center),” he said.

The President, likewise, mentioned some of the ongoing infrastructure projects in Northern Mindanao that will usher in the region’s positive transformation, including the Panguil Bay Bridge, the Iligan City Coastal Bypass Road, and rehabilitation and development of airports in Ozamiz, Camiguin, Bukidnon, Lumbia in Cagayan De Oro, and Laguindingan in Misamis Oriental. (PNA)