PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, various government activities in Davao City, the bailiwick of former President Rodrigo Duterte, whom he had an exchange of accusations with related to the use of illegal drugs.
Marcos attended three events in Davao City -- the inauguration of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project, the distribution of Land Electronic Titles (E-Titles) to more than 2,500 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs), and the ceremonial signing of the civil works contracts for the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (DPTMP).
During the inauguration of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply project, Marcos ordered both public and private sectors to expedite the completion of water projects in the country as he raised the urgency of water security of the Philippines.
Marcos said water scarcity remains to be the hardest form of emergency to contain, but can be prevented through foresight, right plans, united action and political will.
“Any disruption to the water supply, such as the one posed by the El Niño phenomenon, which we are feeling the effects of now, degrades our quality of life, it dampens economic activities, and can fuel disorder,” Marcos said.
“Anticipating problems instead of letting them catch us by surprise is how we approach these challenges in the Bagong Pilipinas. We prepare for contingencies, solve problems, and defuse potential crises before they occur,” he added.
The Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project is one of the country’s largest private bulk water supply facilities built under the partnership of Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc. and the Davao City Water District (DCWD). It can produce 300 million liters per day with a 70-kilometer pipeline.
The water treatment facility of the project is mechanized by renewable energy sourced from its own run-of-river hydroelectric power plant. It aims to shift from Davao City’s dependence on groundwater addressing the water needs of over one million Davaoeños.
Marcos said the project only showed that development can be pursued without compromising the environment.
“Thank you for showing us the deep well of potential that public-private partnerships hold, not just in securing water supply, but also in paving the way for enhanced economic growth, jobs creation, and an improved standards of living for all Filipinos,” the President said.
“What this demonstrates is a proven approach in battling water scarcity, which is no longer a seasonal challenge but a perpetual threat that comes with climate change. It is for this reason that I continually stress the urgency of improving water security, and directed agencies concerned to expedite the completion of all water projects across the country,” he added.
Marcos also led the distribution of around 2,500 e-titles covering an aggregate area of approximately 3,560 hectares across the region to ARB’s.
The chief executive assured the farmers that through the government’s initiatives, farming will no longer be the most difficult job in the Philippines.
Marcos signed the New Agrarian Emancipation Act, which benefits 610,054 Filipino farmers tilling over 1.7 million hectares of agrarian reform lands, making them debt-free from P57.65 billion of agrarian arrears.
He also assured the provision of other assistance to Filipino farmers including the free seedlings, fertilizers and other agricultural equipment and constructing more agricultural infrastructures.
“Para hindi kayo nahihirapan na dalhin ang inyong ani mula sa pinagsasasakahan ninyo hanggang doon sa palengke, para mababa pati ang presyo, mas malaki ang kikitain ng ating magsasaka. Kaya’t inaanyayahan ko po kayong lahat na magtulungan sa pagtataguyod ng kapakanan ng ating mga magsasaka,” Marcos said.
(So that you don't struggle to bring your harvest from your farm to the market, so that the price is also low, our farmer will earn more. So I invite you all to work together in promoting the welfare of our farmers.)
The signing of the civil works contracts for the DPTMP coincides with the 125th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City.
The project is a bus-based public transport system aimed at enhancing the mobility and accessibility for local commuters in accordance with the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
It is expected to be operational by 2026, traversing 29 interconnected routes that cover a total length of 672 kilometers.
Davao City Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte was not present in any of the events but his sister, Vice President Sara Duterte, was, except in the inauguration of the water facility.
Last week, during a prayer rally in opposition of the People’s Initiative for Charter change, former President Duterte accused Marcos of being a drug addict.
Mayor Duterte also urged Marcos to resign.
In response to his predecessor’s accusations, Marcos said it could be due to over use of fentanyl, a regulated pain medicine. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)