The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) welcomes the issuance of Executive Order 114 institutionalizing the Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program calling it “timely and necessary” in driving growth in the regions as well as in addressing various social concerns not only in Metro Manila but in the rest of the country.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that now that the BP2 Program has been made as a cornerstone of government policy, he foresees that opportunities towards equal distribution of wealth, growth and progress can now be possible down to the local government units (LGUs) unlike how it is today where economic development is mostly concentrated in Metro Manila and other highly-urbanized cities.
“The DILG welcomes the institutionalization of the BP2 Program since this has always been our battle cry in our campaign for Constitutional Reform (CORE) which is equal opportunities for growth and progress for all. It has been a fact that development is lopsided in favor of Metro Manila. Panahon na para ikalat ang kaunlaran sa ibat ibang rehiyon ng ating bansa,” he adds.
Año says that the DILG has always been a leader in the advocacy of equitable distribution of wealth and growth, which is a cornerstone of the Duterte administration. “Ito ay isa rin sa mga pangako ng ating Pangulo maging noong siya ay nangangampanya pa lamang kaya natutuwa kami na ito ay gumugulong sa pamamagitan ng BP2 Program.”
He says that it is unfortunate how COVID-19 exposed, probably, the worst downside of Metro Manila’s over population which is the heightened possibility of community transmission in highly populated areas emphasizing that “Ang sagot dito ay decongestion ng Kamaynilaan na siyang ipinapangako ng EO 114.”
“What we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic is over population in highly urbanized cities will not play to our advantage but on the contrary, may lead to more cases of coronavirus transmission," he says.
He said that it is just logical to decongest Metro Manila to alleviate current social issues such as traffic congestion, transportation problems, among others and the BP2 Program can be a huge boost towards that direction.
EO 114 envisions to attain balanced regional development through “equitable distribution of wealth, resources and opportunities through policies and programs that boost countryside development and inclusive growth, provide adequate social services, and promote full employment, industrialization, and an improved quality of life in rural areas.”
The DILG Chief also encourages LGUs to partake in the formulation of policies and implementation of the BP2 Program components that will allow for resource-sharing arrangements, through, among others, co-financing mechanism with development partners.
“Malaki ang magiging tulong ng BP2 Program sa mga pamahalaang lokal kaya we urge them to be partners as well in ensuring that this program will succeed. Suportahan natin ito sapagkat para po ito sa ating mga kababayan,” he says.
He says that the programs’ key areas are looking to drive inclusive and balanced urban and rural development through the empowerment of local industries; food security and agricultural productivity; social welfare, health and employment; and development of infrastructure.
The DILG is one of the members of the Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa Council headed by the Executive Secretary as the Chairperson and the Secretary for Social Economic Planning and Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority as Vice Chairperson.