By Darryl John Esguerra

ASSISTANCE FOR ALL. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. personally turns over government assistance to farmers, fisherfolk, and families affected by El Niño in Zamboanga City on Thursday (May 9, 2024). In his speech, the President assured that no area would be left out in the provision of government assistance, assuring to personally oversee the delivery of aid to all the regions. (RTVM Screengrab)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday assured that no region or province will be left out in the provision of government assistance to help the people amid the extreme heat and drought due to El Niño.

Marcos issued the pronouncement as he led the distribution of assistance to farmers, fisherfolk, and families at the Universidad de Zamboanga Summit Center in Barangay Tetuan, Zamboanga City.

 In his message, Marcos said it was important for him to personally deliver the assistance and hear the grievances of the people as he reported that some 3.6 million individuals have been severely affected by El Niño so far, while damage to agriculture has reached PHP5.9 billion.

 “Hindi lang Zamboanga ang ating hahatiran ng tulong kundi lahat ng rehiyon ay aking dadalawin. Buong bansa ay tatamasa ng mga programa na ating pinagkakaloob (We will not only distribute assistance to people  in Zamboanga, but I will visit all the regions. The entire country will benefit from the programs we provide)” Marcos said.

 “Lalarga tayo sa buong kapuluan. Walang rehiyon na maiiwan, walang lalawigan na makakaligtaan. Hindi ang lokal na pamahalaan ang dudulog sa Malacañang. Ang Malacañang ang pupunta sa mamamayan (We will go around the archipelago. No region will be left behind, no province will be missed. It is not the local government that will approach Malacañang. It is Malacañang that will go to the people),” he added.

The President distributed PHP10,000 financial assistance to beneficiaries from the Zamboanga Peninsula and handed out a total of PHP58 million monetary support to the City of Zamboanga and the Provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga Sibugay.

 Through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) Program, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is also set to distribute PHP10,000 each to 10,000 fisherfolk and farmers.

 Meanwhile, the Office of First Lady Louise Araneta Marcos will also bring the “Lab For All” Caravan in the region and to facilitate the families’ medical and health needs, alongside the ‘Bagong Pilipinas Serbisyo Fair’ by the Office of House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

 Marcos added that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is closely monitoring and studying strategies in cloud seeding, operations, irrigation systems, and building climate-resilient projects, while the Department of Health (DOH) is prioritizing the health and water supply needs of those affected by the extreme heat, among many others.

 “Kaming lahat ay patuloy na nag uugnayan at nagsasanib pwersa sa kagustuhang mapawi ang iniinda ninyong hirap dulot ng matinding tagtuyot (All of us continue to collaborate and join forces in a bid to ease your burden due to the extreme drought),” the Chief Executive assured. (PNA)