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President Marcos orders flood control in Bicol fast-tracked

MANILA, Philippines — To minimize the impact of typhoons and the looming La Niña on the Bicol region, President Marcos yesterday ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to expedite flood control projects in what is considered one of the most disaster-prone areas in the country.

The President gave the directive in his speech during the distribution of aid to El Niño-hit farmers and fisherfolk in Legazpi City, Albay.

He also directed local government units to brace for La Niña, which is characterized by excessive rainfall.

The government has rolled out preparedness measures with the onset of the rainy season, the President assured the public.

“You (LGUs) must also be prepared for strong typhoons that may hit the country and possible flooding,” he said in Filipino.

The President reminded local governments in Bicol to ensure there would be enough supply of food and other essential needs for those who would be displaced by weather disturbances.

In a speech in Pili, Camarines Sur earlier, Marcos ordered the DPWH to finish the flood control project at the Bicol River Basin to prevent massive flooding due to La Niña.

El Niño has ended but its impact on the country could continue at least in some parts, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in its latest report.

A transition to La Niña is likely between July and September, it added. The state weather bureau has officially declared the start of the rainy season.

Typhoon Aghon, which hit the country late last month, left six people dead and some P57.5 million in damage to agriculture.

Also in Pili, Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III said Marcos remains focused on fighting poverty despite persistent attacks by his detractors.

Estrella, who accompanied Marcos during the distribution of land titles to agrarian reform beneficiaries, said poverty is the President’s lone “enemy.”

“There are many who probably don’t understand, throw mud, challenge (him)… They are saying anything that is not good about the President,” Estrella said.

“But my question is, did you see our President hit back?... because he values their rights because we are