Marcos hits past administrations for ‘inaction’ in Yolanda areas

Helen Flores, Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos hits past administrations for �inaction� in Yolanda areas
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. delivers a speech during the Basic Education Report 2024 at a hotel in Pasay City on January 25, 2024.
STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — The past two administrations had done “nothing” to rehabilitate areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda, President Marcos said yesterday.

Speaking to journalists in Tacloban, Marcos said that rehabilitation in areas devastated by Yolanda only started during his administration or two years ago.

“I cannot say that we have fully recovered from Yolanda. With all that rehabilitation, you know, we only really started two years ago, because nothing was done during the previous administration, nothing was done by the administration before that,” Marcos said.

Tacloban was among the areas hit hard by Yolanda on Nov. 8, 2013. The super typhoon killed at least 6,300 people.

“It’s only now that we really paid attention to it,” Marcos said.

Marcos directed government agencies to fast-track the relocation of survivors and strengthen the country’s disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation measures.

Meanwhile, Marcos quoted a famous World War II line of Gen. Douglas MacArthur to assure residents of Eastern Visayas that his government is committed to provide them assistance and address their concerns.

“Just like what someone we know said during the war, Eastern Visayas, I shall return,” the President said during the distribution of land titles to farmers in Tacloban yesterday.

“We are always here to provide support and to listen, so we will know your concerns and needs. I will be back to bring more assistance,” he added.

MacArthur uttered the words “I shall return” upon his arrival in Australia in 1942, to show his commitment to liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation. He fulfilled his commitment when he and his troops landed in Leyte on Oct. 20, 1944.

Marcos said his administration would not just provide land titles to farmers, whom he described as “heroes.”

He said his administration is building bridges and providing access to loans and farm equipment so farmers could produce better crops and bring these to markets.

The government has allocated more than P300 million to build farm-to-market roads, he said.

Marcos cited the PBBM Bridges program, saying almost P80 million has been allotted to construct bridges in Southern Leyte, Samar and Eastern Samar.

He said the administration allocated more than P71 million for irrigation projects to address the effects of El Niño as well as provided more than 200 farm machinery and equipment to more than 1,500 farmers in Eastern Visayas.

“I have directed the Department of Agrarian Reform to work with other agencies of the government such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Labor and Employment to provide more assistance and services to our farmers,” Marcos said.

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