LOOKING FORWARD. Fe Vinoya is happy that she is finally going back to Bicol with her 81-year old mother and two children through the Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-Asa program. In the province, she said she can focus on taking care of her mother and kids. (PNA photo by Robert Alfiler)

MANILA – Fe Camata Vinoya's meager pay as a massage therapist can no longer sustain her family's growing expenses, prompting her to avail of the government's Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-Asa (BP2) program.

Vinoya, her 81-year-old mother and two children, are among the seven families set to return to their home province of Albay on March 8.

Although Vinoya did not grow up in Tanawan, Malinao, Albay, she said she was happy to go back. Unlike in Manila, Vinoya said she can look after her mother without having to worry every time she leaves for work.

“Kasi dito wala naman akong bahay, sawang sawa na ako mangupahan, gusto ko na umuwi para kahit papano me kapiraso kaming lupa. Kahit na maliit na bahay meron akong masasabi na akin (We don’t own a house here and I am tired of renting. I want to go home; we have a small land there. Even though it is a small house, at least we can call it our own),” Vinoya said. “Doon na kami maninirahan ng mama ko at mga anak ko (We will be living there with my mom and my children)."

Vinoya's earnings at work are mostly spent for house rent payments and whatever is left is spent on food and other needs.

"It's hard to strive for a better life here," she said.

While she has little knowledge about planting, Vinoya is hopeful that the government can help her acquire the skills. Upon settling in Albay, Vinoya said she would get into planting fruits like watermelon on their land.

“May programa naman na magte-training ka, 'yun ang inaasahan namin na matuturuan kami ng mas maganda. Sabi nila pwede kami mabigyan ng training kung ano 'yung gusto naming i-negosyo at gawin sa probinsya, pwede daw naming ma-avail 'yun (We were told that training programs are available so I am counting on that to learn the craft. We can avail of trainings on whatever livelihood we want to start),” she said.

The BP program resumes its dispatch on March 7 at the BP2 Depot in Agham Road, Quezon City.

Prior to leaving for the province, the beneficiaries were briefed about the program and underwent RT PCR testing to make sure that they are negative of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The BP2 program is an initiative of the national government created to address the congestion in Metro Manila's urban areas.

Government agencies guide the beneficiaries throughout this transition by providing additional support and incentives on transportation, livelihood, family needs, subsistence, education, housing, and others. (PNA)