CATARMAN, Northern Samar — President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. distributed assistance to farmers and fisherfolk in this province on Friday(July 14), before leading in the inauguration of the Samar Pacific Coastal Road (SPCR) project.

The provincial government also received P10.2 million worth of abaca seedlings from the Department of Agriculture.

The President emphasized the importance of agriculture, which he promised to support in terms of production and income for local farmers.

He also reiterated his desire to bring down the price of basic goods like rice and services as one of his priorities.

One of Marcos’ plans to achieve this is through the Kadiwa Program, in which agricultural products produced by farmers and fisherfolk cooperatives and associations and community-based organizations are brought by the government directly to consumers through strategically located Kadiwa stores at lower prices compared to the regular markets or stores.

The COVID-19 experience, he said, should be a learning experience for Filipinos to focus more on local food production.

“When the pandemic hit, everything closed. We became dependent on imported rice. We must not have a repeat of what happened. We need to prepare,” the President, who is also the Department of Agriculture Secretary, said.

The President arrived around 10:30 a.m. in Catarman, along with Northern Samar Gov. Edwin Ongchuan.

Rep. Paul Daza, Vice Gov. Clarence Dato, Catarman Mayor Francisco Aurelio Rosales III, and other local officials welcomed Mr. Marcos.

The President was immediately led to the provincial capitol grounds for the ceremonial turnover of P2.6 million worth of tractors, P863,111 worth of multi-cultivators, and a pump irrigation system amounting to P384,000 to farmers and fisherfolk associations in the province.

He then proceeded to the provincial capitol gym which was filled with farmers, fisherfolk, indigents, and other beneficiaries waiting to receive their financial assistance from different programs of national government agencies.