MANILA – The continuity of the government’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa (BP2) program will promote “inclusive economic development”.
The incoming Marcos administration must consider the continuation of the BP2 program “to equalize” opportunities nationwide, according to Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, head of the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM).
“[We] hope that the Balik Probinsya Program will be really studied in the next administration and will include the population dynamics,” Perez said in a recent radio interview.
He urged incoming officials to promote policies that would encourage people’s migration from rural to urban areas and address “income disparity” among regions.
Beneficiary Lilibeth Domo, a resident of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, said her life in Metro Manila did not change since she migrated 22 years ago and was made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hence, her decision to avail of the BP2 program.
“Construction worker ang asawa ko tapos noong nagka-pandemic, wala na kaming pambayad ng renta. Wala na halos makain tapos nag-aantay na lang ng bigay ng kumpanya (My husband was a construction worker, and then when the pandemic struck, we can’t pay our rent, we had almost nothing to eat, we were just waiting for the company to provide for us),” Domo told the Philippine News Agency before they left for Lanao del Norte on May 31.
Domo’s family was among those sent home to Agusan del Sur, Iligan, Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, and Cagayan de Oro.
“Sobrang saya ko na, ma’am, lalo na ‘yung may tumawag na sa akin. Approved na yung naaplayan kong 'Balik Probinsya' (I was so happy when I received a call and that my application for Balik Probinsya was approved),” she said.
Domo thanked the government for assisting her family to start anew in the province.
“Doon na kami mangangarap. Doon ko na rin patatapusin ‘yung mga anak ko kasi nakakapagod na rin tumira sa Maynila (There, we will start dreaming again have my children finish their studies because it is tiring to live in Manila),” she added.
Joie Lapinig, a construction worker and resident of Tubod, Lanao del Norte, thanked President Rodrigo Duterte and BP2 prime mover Senator Christopher “Bong” Go for pushing for a helpful program for a “probinsyano” (rural dweller) like him.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa programa ni Sen Bong Go. Nagpasalamat ako sa gobyerno na natulungan kami na makauwi gyud sa (I thank Sen. Bong Go for the program. I thank the government for assisting us in going home to the) province,” Lapinig said before their departure.
Go earlier urged President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to not only continue but to improve as well the government’s push for accelerated regional development through the program’s whole-of-government approach.
He said the government may be able to further “support rural development and create greater economic possibilities” in all parts of the country.
The senator said BP2 provides adequate social services, promotes employment, and focuses on key areas, such as empowerment of local industries, food security, and infrastructure development in rural areas.
Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 114 on May 6, 2020, to institutionalize the BP2 program, with the primary goal of decongesting Metro Manila.
The EO encouraged “balanced regional development and equitable distribution of wealth, resources, and opportunities through policies and programs that boost countryside development and inclusive growth.” (PNA)