DILG chief expresses support to 'Balik Probinsiya' program

Published April 26, 2020, 4:02 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chito Chavez

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Sunday expressed overwhelming support for the activation of the “Balik Probinsiya (Return to the Province)” program with the hope of its implementation once the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis is over.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN)
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año gave his approval to Senator Bong Go’s proposal to relocate millions back to their home provinces “seeing decongestion as key to preventing a second wave of COVID-19 spreadd in Metro Manila.”

Citing COVID-19 as being highly contagious, Año cited Go for his proposal, adding that it can be one of the long-term solutions to the congestion in Metro Manila.

Año lamented that the National Capital Region (NCR) is a densely populated area which was “the hardest hit region of the Philippines due to the ballooning number of citizens with a population density of 20,785 persons based on the 2015 Census of Population.’’

The Balik Probinsiya appeal of Go requested the national government to incentivize, through provision of livelihood opportunities and financial aid, the relocation of Filipinos from NCR to the provinces after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted.

Año added that if the said proposal materializes, local government units (LGUs) nationwide, with the aid of the national government, must prepare to address the relocation needs of the people coming back to the provinces.

He also encouraged the LGUs to prepare for the possibility of returning residents from Metro Manila in their area of responsibility by placing measures that will ensure that returning residents will be aided.

“This is a good initiative, but is still in need of specific guidelines before it can be rolled out,” Año explained, adding that the government will never push through with it if the provisions and relevant guidelines are not yet in place.

The DILG chief added that Go’s proposal will put an end to recurring problems such as worsening traffic, uneven development, poor sanitation, poor healthcare, and the overpopulation of urban areas.

“We will be able to address other issues, other than the COVID-19, kapag ito ay ating naisakatuparan (if this pushes through),’’ Año concluded.