Duterte approves Balik Probinsya to decongest Metro Manila

Duterte approves Balik Probinsya to decongest Metro Manila
By 2020, it is predicted that most of the world’s megacities will be in Asia, and will have a population of 20 million. (Image from Pinterest)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday signed an executive order to implement the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program, to decongest 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.

Executive Secretary will lead the council while Socioeconomic Planning Secretary will be its vice-chairperson.

Other government agencies included in the program are Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Health (DOH).

Secretaries of information and communications technology, finance, budget and management, public works and highways, transportation, tourism, human settlements, and urban development, environment, and education are also involved in the project.

Chairperson of the Commission of Higher Education and the director-general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, as well as the heads of the Mindanao Development Authority and Cooperative Development Authority, are also council members.

“The uncontrolled upsurge of population in the National Capital Region brings to the fore longstanding issues on the lack of viable and sustainable employment  opportunities in the countryside, unbalanced regional development and unequal distribution of wealth,” the order stated.

“To reverse migration to the NCR and other congested metropolises, as well as to attain rural prosperity through equal distribution of wealth, resources and opportunities, a balanced regional development program to foster socially cohesive, resilient, and sustainable rural communities needs to be institutionalized.”

Duterte approves program

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.

Senator Bong Go, who is also Duterte’s former aide, first surfaced the program last month.

“Let us transfer the people at the right time or when the health experts say it is already safe. But for now, let us prepare for it because if we will just allow the people to congest Manila, there is a higher chance of the virus spreading again,” Go said, speaking in Filipino.

As of May 6, the National Capital Region has recorded new 179 cases bringing to a total of confirmed cases to 6, 596. Of that number, 5,074 were or those who neither died nor recovered.