Pres. Marcos pledges support for farmers and fishers

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ( right) talks to one of the beneficiaries of the PAFFF program while Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Bacolod City Rep. Greg Gasataya look on. (PIA photo)

By Dolly Yasa

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. reassured fisherfolk and farmers affected by the El Niño phenomenon in Bacolod City that they would not be left behind.

Marcos made the promise as he led the distribution of P10,000 each to more than 8,000 beneficiaries under the Presidential Assistance for Farmers, Fisherfolk, and Families (PAFFF) program in ceremonial rites held at the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos Athletics Field.

“Pinapangako ko na walang magsasaka o mangingisda o sino mang Pilipino na mapag-iiwanan sa aming pinapangarap na Bagong Pilipinas. Ang aking pinapangarap ay isang bansang maulad, at sa inyong tulong at suporta ay makakamit natin,” he said.

The President said that to address the impact of the Kanlaon Volcano eruption, the Department of Social Welfare and Development distributed a total of P24 million in relief assistance in Bago City, La Carlota, La Castellana, Moises Padilla, and Pontevedra.

He added that the Department of Agriculture is looking into the effect of the volcano’s eruption on the agricultural and fishery sectors and that the government will extend the necessary assistance.

An updated list from the Philippine Information Agency reported that a total of 8,315 beneficiaries were severely affected by the El Niño phenomenon, each receiving P10,000, amounting to P83,150,000 in total.

Part of the beneficiaries will receive allocations from the P10 million given by President Marcos to the city government of Bacolod through Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, and the P50 million allocated to the provincial government through Governor Eugenio Lacson.

The Office of House Speaker Martin Romualdez also allocated 5 kilos of rice each to the beneficiaries.

The President stated that aside from this, the national government is pursuing various projects to alleviate the living conditions of the Bacolodnons and Negrenses.

One such project is the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway, which will improve and rehabilitate 42 kilometers of roads, construct 12 new bridges, and repair 12 kilometers of existing roads and four bridges.

He also cited the Asenso Yuhum Residences of the city government of Bacolod.

The national government will continue to provide financial assistance under the Tulong Pangkabuhayan Para sa Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program of the Department of Labor and Employment. TESDA will also provide training allowances to qualified beneficiaries.

The President expressed his anticipation for the results of these national government programs, especially now that the Negros Island Region was established after he signed the NIR Act.

Both Benitez and Lacson thanked the President for signing the NIR Act.

Lacson stated in his speech, “The comprehensive aid you give out in the form of financial support, agricultural inputs, infrastructure development, improvement of irrigation systems, provincial access roads, technical assistance, and livelihood support will undoubtedly recharge and revitalize our agriculture sector despite the drought.”

He added, “With the signing of the NIR Law and the distribution of assistance, we know we can always count on you to stand with us through challenges and triumphs alike.”

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