The national government suspended the implementation of the Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa Program to focus the resources on bringing stranded individuals in Metro Manila to their provinces, National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. said Thursday.
Escalada said the President Rodrigo Duterte gave a “clear instruction” to prioritize transporting people who have been stranded in NCR due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“This was a clear instruction from the President, unahin pauwiin ang ating mga kababayan na stranded dito sa Maynila, and these are the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), the construction workers, ating mga turista at mga estudyante. That is the arrangement right now,” Escalada, the program’s executive director, said in a televised briefing.
The Balik Probinsiya program would remain suspended until transportation would be available, and those who were stranded have been sent home.
“I foresee that in the next month, let’s say, for example, July, I think bababa na ang demand ng stranded and therefore [ang] Balik Probinsiya will now take our second rollouts by that time,” he said.
“We want to make sure that, on the one hand, the LGUs (local government units) are ready to receive their own constituents by then.”
President Rodrigo Duterte, on May 6, signed an executive order to implement the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program, to decongest Metro Manila and develop provinces.
Duterte inked Executive Order 114, creating the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Council. The council will oversee the program implementation and compliance of government units involved.
The President said the framework of Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa includes social welfare, food security and agricultural productivity, infrastructure development, health and employment, and empowerment.
“(It is) very promising because three days or four days thereafter, I already see 10,000 enrollees all over Metro Manila going to the top 10 provinces and municipalities of our country,” Escalada said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
Escalada said Leyte, Bohol, Samar, and Camarines Sur are among these ten provinces.