Marcos named adopted son of Camarines Sur

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos named adopted son of Camarines Sur
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. speaks in this undated photo.
Office of the Press Secretary

MANILA, Philippines —  President Marcos has been declared an adopted son of Camarines Sur, the home province and known bailiwick of former vice president Leni Robredo, his closest rival during the 2022 presidential race.

During the groundbreaking of a government housing program in Naga City yesterday, Camarines Sur Gov. Luigi Villafuerte praised Marcos for opposing a bill seeking to divide the province when he was still a senator.

Villafuerte also praised the President for visiting and helping victims of calamities, including typhoon Niña, which devastated the province in 2017.

“We are honored by your visit today, Mr. President. That is why for all that you have done for the province of Camarines Sur, as a way of expressing our everlasting gratitude for all that you have done, Mr. President, please allow me to present to you the resolution by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur, declaring you, Mr. President, as the adopted son of Camarines Sur,” Villafuerte said.

The governor then handed the President a copy of the resolution encased in a plaque, drawing cheers from the audience, many of whom were wearing red, the campaign color of Marcos in 2022.

Villafuerte urged Bicolanos to support the Marcos administration and to heed its call for unity.

“I call on all Bicolanos, let us unite under the leadership of our President because his success is our success,” he added. “Our President has always believed in the power of unity. He wanted our province to remain united. He wants our country to be united.”

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said it is time to put an end to “political discord and political divisiveness that avert our country’s growth and development.”

“Our President’s choice to visit and give priority to the home province of one of the presidential contenders in last year’s balloting is proof of his desire to achieve national healing and unity on his watch,” the lawmaker said, referring to Robredo.

Government programs

Marcos led the launching of a Kadiwa outlet and the groundbreaking of a government housing program in Camarines Sur as part of the administration’s efforts to help vulnerable sectors.

According to the Presidential Communications Office, it was the first Kadiwa outlet to be launched in the Bicol region.

In a speech, Marcos said the Kadiwa program has been successful in bringing affordable basic goods to the public. He also vowed to continue assisting pandemic-hit micro, small and medium enterprises, noting that the sector constitutes 99.5 percent of the country’s businesses.

Marcos also spearheaded the back-to-back groundbreaking of two housing projects in the province under the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Housing or 4PH program.

According to the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), the Camarines Sur provincial government’s housing project targets 12,960 units in a six-hectare land along Panganiban Drive in Naga City. Based on the presented plan, the area will have five mid to high-rise residential buildings and four commercial buildings.

Naga City’s ‘The Legacy Residences Development Project’ initially aims to generate 1,200 units in a 1.2-hectare area in Barangay Balatas. The city government’s plan includes seven mid-rise buildings with 20 units each floor, strategically located near the city center.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Marcos urged government agencies, construction companies, private financial institutions and other partners to adhere to government rules and regulations in carrying out their projects.

“I would like to use this opportunity to reiterate to DHSUD, to LGUs (local government units) and to other agencies that they should remain honest and open in their transactions,” the President said, adding that various sectors should work together to build one million houses per year.

As of March 13, the DHSUD has signed 83 memoranda of understanding and four memoranda of agreement with local governments nationwide.

Marcos gave assurance that the administration would study ways to expand the housing program.

“We are also studying ways to provide sufficient funding to projects like this. We are looking at the possibility of using idle properties of the state to expand the housing program, in line with our country’s laws,” he added.

External threats

Meanwhile, Marcos called on the military yesterday to perform the roles not just of war fighters but also of “peacemakers,” as he emphasized the importance of a well-trained force capable of handling an evolving security environment.

Speaking to members of the Army’s 9th Division in Camarines Sur, the President said the mission of soldiers has changed because of the modified approach to communist rebels.

“Whereas before, we asked you all of the individuals, men and women, in the military to be warfighters. And you were very strong, very brave, very courageous warfighters and that’s how we put pressure on the enemies of the government,” Marcos said.

“But now, the situation is beginning to evolve....They still train to be warfighters and on some occasions, you have to go and fulfill your primary mission of defending the people or the communities here in Bicol. Also now, we are asking you to be peacemakers because we have changed our approach to the communist, terrorist groups that we have been encountering,” he added.

According to Marcos, the government is now offering insurgents other options, including “a life after their life as rebels” – an approach he described as “the only way to move forward and to go beyond the internal threats that the country is facing.”

External threats

“What is becoming more complicated and more difficult are the external threats that we are facing,” Marcos said as he urged the military to watch closely the ships entering disputed areas.

For a long while, the country did not develop the military’s capabilities but the situation has changed, he claimed.

“We have to have a sophisticated and well-trained military and I can say that we have been working very hard to do that. I think I am accurate when I describe our military today as being capable and as well prepared as we ever had,” he said.

“We in the civilian government are determined to make sure that when we ask you to do your duty, that you are fully prepared, you are fully trained and you are complete in the equipment that you need to fulfill that mission,” he added. – Elizabeth Marcelo

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