FIRST RESETTLEMENT AREA. Secretary Emmanuel Piñol (left) visits Zamboanga del Norte Governor Roberto Uy (right) on Wednesday (May 6, 2020) to tackle the government's 'Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-asa' Program, which seeks to establish resettlement communities for the urban poor. Piñol presented the program to Uy during a meeting at the Provincial Capitol in Dipolog City. (Photo courtesy of Sec. Manny Piñol's Facebook Page)

DAVAO CITY – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said the province of Zamboanga del Norte has agreed to establish the first Rural Resettlement Model for informal urban dwellers who want to participate in the “Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-asa” Program (BPBPP).

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Governor Roberto Uy "eagerly" volunteered his province to host the model BPBPP Rural Resettlement Community after MinDA presented the concept during a meeting at the Provincial Capitol in Dipolog City on Tuesday.

BPBPP is being pushed by Senator Christopher Lawrence Go and backed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“During the meeting, Governor Uy said the program could support his vision to lift the province from the ignominious club of the poorest provinces in the country. He will also provide an area at least 50 hectares for the BPBPP Rural Resettlement Model good for 200 returning Zambo Norte families who are now among the informal urban dwellers in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu,” Piñol said.

Piñol said that Uy also agreed that the first BPBPP Rural Resettlement Model would focus on one common activity, preferably agriculture or fisheries-based.

For Uy, a sustainable economic model is important to make urban migrants stay.

“We will follow the recommendation of the MinDA that the community should be involved in a common activity with a complete value chain to ensure that the Balik Probinsya families will earn and stay home for good and contribute to our province’s goal of reducing poverty,” Uy was quoted by Piñol as saying.

Uy said the province's counterpart could be the relocation site and funding support for livelihood projects.

He said that once the first BPBPP model is established, the provincial government would allocate over 700,000 hectares to replicate the initiative in other areas of the province.

Piñol said that after Zamboanga del Norte, he will proceed to Lanao del Norte to present the program to Governor Imelda Dimaporo and Kauswagan town Mayor Rommel Arnado.

“On Thursday (May 7), I will meet with Bukidnon Governor Jose Zubiri to propose the establishment of a vegetable and strawberry production-based Balik Probinsya Rural Resettlement Community in his province,” he said.

Piñol said the Zamboanga del Norte Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-asa Model Rural Resettlement Community concept will be presented during the next online conference of the BPBPP Inter-Agency Task Force presided by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. (PNA)