MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has signed Executive Order 114, which seeks to institutionalize the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa program as “a pillar of balanced regional development.”
The EO aims to decongest Metro Manila amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis and bring people back to their home provinces to allow them to sustain their livelihoods outside the metropolis.
“The uncontrolled upsurge of population in the National Capital Region (NCR) brings to fore the longstanding issues on the lack of viable and sustainable employment opportunities in the countryside, unbalanced regional development and unequal distribution of wealth,” a portion of EO 114 states.
Malacañang released last night the copy of the order aimed at balancing regional development and distribution of wealth, resources and opportunities through policies and programs.
“Reversed migration to the NCR and other congested metropolises to attain rural prosperity are needed to foster socially cohesive, resilient and sustainable rural communities,” the order says.
Duterte also called for the creation of a council, headed by the Executive Secretary, to ensure a whole-of-government action on the implementation of the program.
“The Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-Asa Program is hereby established as a national program of the government and adopted as a continuing strategy to drive inclusive and balanced urban and rural development, ensure rural prosperity and complement initiatives towards attaining resilient and sustainable communiies,” he said.
The program’s framework includes the empowerment of local industries; food security and agricultural productivity; social welfare, health and employment; and the development of infrastructure.
To speed up efforts to bring back individuals during the enhanced community quarantine imposed due to the COVID-19, Duterte directed concerned agencies to provide transportation and relocation of those who are voluntarily availing themselves of the program.
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star ) – May 7, 2020 – 12:00am