By Darryl John Esguerra

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (Presidential Communications Office Photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. assured Mindanaoans that no area will be left behind in the administration’s “Build, Better, More” infrastructure program, noting that key infrastructure projects will also reach the rural areas.

This as Marcos inaugurated on Monday the over PHP5-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project II (MMIP II) in Pikit, Cotabato.

“Sa puntong ito, hayaan ninyong maggawad ako ng panata. Hindi lang po irigasyon ang dadaloy sa inyong lupain. Marami pang proyektong pang-agrikultura ang darating (At this point, let me give you all a promise. Not only irrigation projects will come to your lands. We have more agricultural projects coming in here),” Marcos said in his speech during the inauguration of the irrigation project.

“Marami pa pong serbisyo ang ilalaan upang maitaas ang antas ng pamumuhay ng ating mga kababayan, lalo na ang mga nasa BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao). Ginagarantiya ko sa inyo na ang Build Better More na programa natin ay hindi lang pangkalunsuran, ito ay pangkanayunan, at pangkalahatan (More services will be provided to raise the standard of living of our countrymen, especially those in BARMM. I guarantee you that our Build Better More program will not only reach urban areas, but also rural areas and all other areas),” he added. 

The MMIP II in Villarica, Midsayap is expected to supply water to over 10,000 hectares of farmland in Pikit and Aleosan, Cotabato and Pagalungan and Datu Montawal in Maguindanao, which is twice the size of Manila City. 

More than 4,000 farmers are expected to benefit from the project, including former Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants who face abundant harvest amid the El Niño phenomenon. 

During the inauguration of the MMIP II, Marcos highlighted the need to boost the agricultural sector in Mindanao, noting that the irrigation project will not only supply water in the affected farmlands, but will also serve as a beacon of hope for prosperity, peace and unity in the region.  

The Chief Executive added the MMIP II will make Mindanao land “a fertile field of grain” that will bring “many bountiful harvests, nourish many families and ensure that their children would get their fair share of progress.”  

“It will put food on their plates so that people may share their blessings at the table of peace. This irrigation would water not only the crops that we grow, but the peace that we want to take root in this land. Because peace and freedom must be tended and watered as well,” he said. 

“Only then can we be assured that it will flourish and bear fruit for all. So it is not only [an] agricultural project. It is a major infrastructure for peace and development as well,” the President added. 

Before concluding his speech, Marcos extended his gratitude to the National Irrigation Administration, the local government units, and the uniformed personnel for their support in realizing the MMIP II. (PNA)