PROVINCE-BOUND. Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program beneficiaries return to their provinces to start life anew on Tuesday morning (Dec. 7, 2021). Forty-three went home to Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Iloilo provinces. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – The Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program is an escape from poverty and 69-year-old Ricarte Floresca is grateful for the assistance provided by the Duterte administration.

Floresca, his wife, two children, and a grandchild were among the 17 who returned home to La Union province on Tuesday morning.

He is hoping it is not yet too late for him to rebuild their lives in his home province.

Ngayon lang masasakatuparan (It is only now that it will be realized),” Floresca said of his dream of a better but simple life.

Like other fathers, Floresca dreamt of providing a comfortable life for his family.

He soon realized it was easier said than done because life in the city is difficult, especially for someone like him with a limited source of income as a tricycle driver.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, life became doubly hard.

Kakulangan para sa pangangailangan, talagang salat sa kita, sa hanapbuhay, salat sa pera (Lacking necessities, lack of income, employment, lack of money),” he said.

Floresca said he never wished for an extravagant life, just enough for them to get by.

Magkaron ng sariling bahay doon, magtanim, mag-alaga ng hayop. Umaasa akong sapat na ‘yun para mabuhay ng mapayapa at malayo sa Covid dahil probinsya ‘yun (Have our own house, plant, raise livestock. I believe these are enough to live a peaceful life and away from Covid-19 since it’s in the province),” he added.

Ricarte Floresca (right) with his wife (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

Floresca always believed that life is better in the province and is hoping he can still achieve his dreams for his family without bothering relatives for help.

Instead, the BP2 Program will help him.

Wala akong puntiryang kamag anak na pupuntahan doon. Ngayon nga hindi nila alam ito eh na ako biglang uuwi. Hindi nila alam ‘to kasi nga ayon sa programa natin, umaasa ako na mapapabuti ako, kami, at wala kaming maabalang kahit kamag anak. ‘Yun ang inaasahan ko kasi para manindigan kami talaga na dama namin yung programa ni Presidente (I am not looking for my relative’s help especially since they do not even know that we’re going home. According to this program, it will help us improve our lives, without bothering any relative. We stand by the president’s program),” Floresca said.

He was emotional as he expressed deep gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for the BP2 program.

Masaya kami kaya nagpapasalamat ako unang una sa Presidente natin at tsaka sa inyong lahat (We are very happy that is why I thank, first, our president, and all of you),” Floresca said.

Two other beneficiaries went home to Ilocos Sur and 24 to Iloilo on Tuesday. (PNA)