By Jennifer P. Rendon
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. led the distribution of various assistance to Antique, one of the provinces hit hard by Tropical Storm Paeng.
Marcos arrived in the province morning of Nov 8 for the ceremonial turnover of millions of pesos worth of aid at the Old Capitol Building, Tobias Fornier St., San Jose de Buenavista, Antique.
The President was with Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos Jr. and Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Erwin Tulfo when they conducted an aerial inspection before landing at the province’s capital.
Prior to the ceremonial turnover, he made a short speech in between chants of “BBM” from the crowd.
“Gagawin namin kaagad ang lahat para maibalik, para magamit man lang para ma-deliver, matuloy ang hanapbuhay at maibalik sa normal bago ang bagyo,” he said.
He again thanked the province for supporting him.
“Ang maisusukli ko lamang sa inyong suporta sa akin at sa aking pamilya at ngayon sa administrasyon ay ang magandang trabaho na aming gagawin para tulungan tayong lahat na makaahon,” he said.
“At ‘yung ating sinasabi, sinisigaw noong kampanya na sama-sama tayong babangon muli nagsimula na. Kaya tuloy-tuloy na ang ating pagbangon dito sa Pilipinas,” Marcos said.
While he claimed that there might be times that they are not visible, they are always there “to know what’s going on and are doing everything they could.”
He also cited the crowd in Antique for their strength and resiliency amid the calamity.
Marcos then led the turning over of the Departure of Agriculture’s certificate of rice farmer financial assistance worth P177,465,000.
It will be given to the province’s 35,493 farmers.
The DA, which Marcos heads as its concurrent secretary, also gave palay seeds under the agency’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.
The aid, which amounted to P13 million, is seen to benefit 6,843 farmers.
The agency also handed over 60 units of 30-footer fiber-reinforced plastic boats with marine engines to Antique’s fisherfolk.
Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao received the check and certificate of award.
The DA also turned over vegetable seeds worth P970,000 to the Provincial Agriculture Office.
The seeds are deemed enough to cover 200 hectares of land.
Other assistance included:
* Drugs, biologics and disinfectant worth P42,950 awarded to the Provincial Veterinary Office;
*P10,000 cash assistance under the DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program’s livelihood assistance grant to 300 beneficiaries;
*DSWD’s P5,000 financial assistance, family food packs and sleeping kits to 1,200 beneficiaries from the towns of Hamtic, San Jose, Patnongon, Sibalom and San Remigio;
*Vouchers from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for livelihood packages under the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa Program to six micro small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) from San Jose and Culasi towns; and
*P1 million pangkabuhayan project from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to 56 beneficiaries from Patnongon.
Paeng affected 523 barangays in all of Antique’s 18 municipalities.
Latest report from the Antique Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) pegged the number of affected families at 51,788 (202,547 individuals).
The storm also destroyed 861 houses and damaged 5,047 others.
Twenty bridges were also damaged. The destruction is pegged at P76 million.
Cost of damage on 26 roads is estimated at P34.5 million while the value of damage to flood control (dikes, gabions, and box culverts) is pegged at P93 million.
In the agriculture sector, the losses are estimated at P132.9 million.
Around 5,827.13 hectares of cropland were also affected.
The fisheries incurred bigger damage valued at P228.3 million.