Around 1 million Manila residents are expected to join the “Balik Probinsya” program
The newly-launched program has already received 5,000 online enrollees in four days with a number of provinces also signifying interest
May 13, 2020
In the next six months, around one million residents of Metro Manila are expected to move to other regions under the government’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa program.
This projection was made by National Housing Authority general manager Marcelino Escalada as he notes that the program, which was launched last Friday, May 8, has already received 5,000 online enrollees in just four days.
“If this will be the figure, there will be exponential enrollees every now and then. Perhaps we can hit a figure in the next six months of one million residents of Metro Manila who would like to enroll,” he said at a televised Laging Handa briefing.
The process involves interested parties either going to the nearest Balik Probinsya center or to the website, where they would fill out an assessment form.
Under the voluntary program, the government will provide assistance in transportation and allowances to those who would like to relocate to rural areas or go back to their home provinces. The assistance would help beneficiaries transition to their new life away from Metro Manila, said Escalada.
He also said that the national government would coordinate with the receiving local government units (LGUs) to help ensure their readiness for the possible influx of new residents. LGUs would be provided with institutional benefits and incentives as well.
The program’s key areas are empowerment of local industries’ food security and agricultural productivity, social welfare, health and employment and development of infrastructure.
According to Escalada, Leyte, Camarines Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Pangasinan, Quirino and Marinduque have expressed interest in joining the pilot program.
The program is under Executive Order No. 114: “Institutionalizing the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa program as a pillar of balanced regional development, creating the balik probinsya council, and for other purposes,” which was mainly sponsored by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and was adopted by the Senate last May 4.
Local government officials have, however, raised concerns over the implementation of the program amid a health crisis.
Header photos courtesy of Inquirer.net
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