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‘MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS SAFE’: Marcos orders Bicol LGUs: “Review your disaster plans”

By RHAYDZ B. BARCIA


PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered local government officials in Bicol to review their disaster plans and preparations as the rainy and typhoon seasons approach.


During the distribution of Presidential Assistance to Farmers and Fisherfolk (PAFF) at Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City on Friday, the President urged mayors and governors to re-evaluate their disaster preparations.


He stated that the national government is preparing for the typhoon season and emphasized the importance of local preparedness. “You too should be prepared for the possibility of strong typhoons and flooding again. Bicol is a typhoon belt in the Philippines and experiences many typhoons. But I admire the Bicolanos’ resilience and courage, who stand up again and again,” he said.


“That is why I am instructing the local government and all government agencies here in Region V to re-evaluate your plans for every potential disaster. Make sure everyone is safe,” Marcos added.


The President assured that the national government will continue to monitor and support the needs of the people when necessary. “If there is ever a need to evacuate, there should be an adequate supply of food and basic needs for those who will be affected,” he said.


Marcos visited the Bicol Region on Friday to distribute cash assistance to fishermen, farmers, and families affected by El Niño. In Camarines Sur, alongside Department of Agriculture Secretary Kiko Tiu Laurel, he distributed P471.8 million in interventions and assistance to farmers and fisherfolk.


DA Secretary Tiu Laurel highlighted other major projects in Camarines Sur, including the P1.2 billion Food Terminal Inc. and farm-to-market roads. The assistance package included 38,615 bags of hybrid rice seeds worth P193 million, fertilizer discount vouchers for 39,711 hectares worth P135 million, RFFA P5,000 cash assistance totalling P42.96 million, corn and cassava equipment worth P4.4 million, 10 Gulayan sa Barangay Packages worth P649,250, and iNSPIRE piglets worth P1.3 million.


Rodel P. Tornilla, DA Bicol regional executive director, detailed further interventions from other DA agencies: 82,592 bags of certified rice seeds from Philrice; three 4WD tractors worth P6.8 million from PhilMech; two Rapid Nursery Propagation Projects worth P170,000 from the Sugar Regulatory Administration; AgriNegosyo loans worth P10 million from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council; bottom set gill nets and ten 18-footer boats, bangus fingerlings worth P1.38 million from BFAR; and P6.8 million worth of insurance from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) for El Niño-affected farmers.


In Albay, President Marcos led the distribution of P10,000 in presidential assistance to about 5,000 farmers, fisherfolk, and their families severely impacted by El Niño, under the Ayuda para sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP) of the DSWD. “I am here today—along with several government agency secretaries—to personally deliver financial assistance to many Bicolanos affected by El Niño. According to the Department of Agriculture, PAGASA, and DOST, almost 19,000 families from more than 300 barangays were severely affected by El Niño in Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon,” Marcos said.


The President emphasized that the national government allocated more than P100 million in assistance for these provinces. Each affected farmer, fisherman, and selected families will receive P10,000.


Marcos also announced additional support from the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, including hybrid rice and corn seeds, fertilizers, pumping sets, nets, and three motorized 18-footer boats.


From the office of Speaker Martin Romualdez, five kilos of rice were prepared for everyone present. “We will ensure that every aid we distribute reaches those who need it most. My only request to our beneficiaries is to use this opportunity to start over again,” he said.


The President urged beneficiaries to approach their local officials or any government agency if they need additional help. He also announced ongoing port projects in Albay to help farmers transport their products to larger markets.


In addition, the Department of Labor and Employment provided P4,687,465 in financial assistance under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Aten Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program. Imelda E. Romanillos, DOLE Bicol officer in charge, said the assistance will be distributed upon the President’s arrival at the Albay Astrodome. Beneficiaries from thirteen barangays in Legazpi City will receive P3,950 each for ten days of work through TUPAD.



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