Senator Bong Go has urged the incoming administration to continue the government’s push for accelerated regional development through the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program, saying that it will give more Filipinos hope for a better future after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hinihikayat po natin ang bagong administrasyon na ipagpatuloy ang pagpapatupad ng BP2 program na layuning mabigyan ng bagong pag-asa ang ating mga kababayan na kung piliin nilang bumalik sa probinsya at manirahan doon,” Go said.
“Hindi lang po maipagpatuloy, kundi mas mapaganda pa sa susunod na termino. Pareho naman po tayo ng adhikain — ang masigurong maramdaman ng bawat Pilipino ang komportableng buhay kahit saan mang sulok ng bansa,” the legislator added.
The lawmaker underlined that with the initiative, the government will be able to further support rural development and create greater economic possibilities for Filipinos in all parts of the country as affirmed by the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM).
Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, head of the POPCOM, has also urged the incoming Marcos administration to examine and evaluate the continuation of the BP2 program, saying that it will promote inclusive economic development across the country.
“So, part of the effort, itong tinatawag nating strategy to really spread out the population, will be to equalize opportunities nationwide,” Perez said.
“Nagpupuntahan ang mga tao roon sa mga lugar kung saan mas malaki ang income.”
“And one of them is income disparity where we have high income in the National Capital Region (and) CALABARZON and low-income in so many other regions. So nagpupuntahan ang mga tao roon sa mga lugar kung saan mas malaki ang income,” he added.
The POPCOM chief also asked the next administration to promote policies that will encourage people to stay where they are and limit migration from rural to urban areas.
“[W]e hope that iyong Balik Probinsya Program will be really studied in the next administration and will include the population dynamics na binabanggit ko and we are part of one of the committees there, we are supporting the strategic activities there,” he said.
Earlier, Go, who is a proponent of the BP2 program, welcomed the support from the private sector as various groups expressed intent to participate and contribute to the government’s push for accelerated regional development.
The senator encouraged more businesses to follow suit and invest in areas outside the country’s urban centers.
“(I)sa sa mga layunin ng ‘Balik Probinsya’ program ang pagsigurong handa at kaaya-aya ang mga probinsya para sa mga bagong negosyong ipapatayo ng mga mamumuhunan,” he said.
In May 2020, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 114 which institutionalizes the program as a “pillar of balanced regional development”.
It instructs concerned agencies to prepare and implement the BP2 Program.
“Whole-of-government na ang approach ngayon.”
“Ngayon, merong Executive Order 114 na nag-institutionalize nito. Meron ding inter-agency council na mangangasiwa at magpapatupad nito. Whole-of-government na ang approach ngayon,” Go explained.
The EO came after he authored Senate Resolution No. 380 which was adopted by the Senate during its plenary session on May 4, urging the Executive Department to formulate and implement the BP2 program.
According to the EO, the BP2 Program will bring “balanced regional development and equitable distribution of wealth, resources, and opportunities through policies and programs that boost countryside development and inclusive growth.”
The program will also provide adequate social services to its people, promote employment, and focus on key areas, such as empowerment of local industries, food security, and infrastructure development in rural areas.