PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. vowed on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, the immediate rehabilitation of roads and bridges damaged by Tropical Storm Paeng in Antique.

Marcos conducted an aerial inspection over Antique before he led the distribution of various government assistances to families affected by Paeng in the province.

“Tiningnan namin kung ano ‘yung mga nasira, iyong mga tulay, at gagawin namin kaagad lahat para maibalik. Magamit man lang — para naman matuloy ang pag-deliver, matuloy ang hanapbuhay, at makabalik na naman tayo sa normal bago tayo nagkabagyo ng ganito,” he said.

(We looked at what was damaged, those bridges, and we will immediately do everything to restore them so that deliveries can continue, jobs can continue, and we can get back to normal before we get to experience another storm like this.)

In a situation briefing with selected regional line agency directors and local chief executives of Antique, Marcos ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways to prioritize finding a way to ensure continuous delivery of goods and services to the people.

Marcos distributed financial aid worth P5,000 to over a thousand typhoon victims from different municipalities in the provinces, as well as relief aid such as food packages and hygiene kits.

He also sought for the alertness of the local chief executives in times of calamities especially amid the climate change, which changed the course of calamities.

“It’s also something that we are beginning to see, yung mga like the governors, city mayors, mga local government kayong lahat that work in the local. Kapagka magka-bagyo, alam na natin kung saan babaha eh, ano ang area na mai-isolate. Ngayon hindi na. Hindi na sumusunod dun sa dati. ‘Yung last years ko as governor, talagang kitang kita ko na eh nag-iiba talaga yung takbo ng tubig so we really have to be prepared kasi I don’t know how to prepare. Bago ito e, everything is new,” Marcos said.

(It’s also something that we are beginning to see, those like the governors, city mayors, all of you who work in the local. When there is a typhoon, we already know where it will flood, which area will be isolated. Now, not anymore. In my last years as governor, I can really see that the flow of water is really different, so we really have to be prepared because I don’t know how to prepare. This is new, everything is new.)

Around 100 beneficiaries also received livelihood grants under the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Sustainable Assistance Program, while the Department of Agriculture (DA) concurrently headed by Marcos handed over a P177.4-million certificate of rice farmer financial assistance to 35,493 farmers in Antique.

The DA also provided farmers palay seeds under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund amounting to P13 million, which could benefit 6,843 farmers.

Vegetable seeds, drugs, biologics and disinfectants were also turned over to the DA provincial office.

Malacañang said around 43,000 families from 500 barangays were affected by the effects of Paeng.

Marcos earlier placed Western Visayas, Calabarzon, Bicol Region and the Bangsamoro region under a state of calamity due to Paeng.

In Western Visayas, which includes Antique, 32 individuals were killed due to the effects of Paeng while nine were still missing.

In a situation report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said there were a total of 158 reported fatalities due to Paeng as of November 8, while 34 were still missing.

Over 1.3 million families or more than 4.6 million individuals were affected by the weather system in 9,795 barangays in the country.

The disaster bureau said the damage to agriculture by Paeng was estimated at nearly P3 billion, while damage to infrastructure was pegged at around P4.5 billion. (SunStar Philippines)