DAVAO CITY – Suspended in June this year, the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program is set to resume early next year.
In a recent interview, Marcelino Escalada, executive director of the program and general manager of the National Housing Authority, said it was put on hold to prioritize the return of stranded persons in the National Capital Region following the travel restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I talked to Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and we decided to resume the rollout because a lot of our fellow Filipinos in Metro Manila wanted to go home to their provinces,” he said.
Escalada said local government units that have expressed readiness to welcome their returning residents include the province of Leyte, Tacloban City, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Camarines Sur, Lanao del Norte, and Isabela.
Some 120,000 Manila residents have expressed the desire to return home to their respective provinces, Escalada said. “We will schedule it so that they can avail of free transportation, other programs and projects, and entitlements they needed,” he added.
President Duterte had earlier approved the BP2 program — a brainchild of Sen. Go — to decongest Metro Manila and other urban centers and promote growth in the regions. Under the program, recipients would receive government aid like transportation, cash, and livelihood assistance.
Contained in Executive Order No. 114 signed by the President last May 2020, the this year, BP2 aims “to ensure balanced regional development and equitable distribution of wealth, resources and opportunities through policies and programs that boost countryside development and inclusive growth, provide adequate social services, and promote full employment, industrialization and improved quality of life in rural areas.” (By Che Palicte / PNA)
Photo courtesy of the Department of Agriculture 8