By Leslie Ann Aquino
A Catholic priest said the proposed “Balik Probinsiya” program is good, but should be accompanied by rural development.
Father Jerome Secillano of the Nuestra Senora Del Perpetuo Socorro Parish in Manila said the lack of rural development forces people to look for opportunities elsewhere, mostly in the urban areas.
“The ‘balik probinsiya’ program is good to a certain extent but it necessitates developing our provinces too to be able to meet the need for jobs, livelihood and education of those to be relocated,” he said in an interview.
“Rural development should complement Sen. Bong Go’s proposed program because without it we may still find people going back to Manila to take their chances,” added Secillano.
Sen. Go earlier appealed to the national government to prepare ‘balik probinsiya’ programs by providing incentives and livelihood opportunities to Filipinos who wish to relocate to the provinces after the state of public health emergency and the enhanced community quarantine measures are lifted.
He stressed that the effort to decongest Metro Manila is becoming relevant now as the country struggles to contain the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
According to the senator, the high density of communities in Metro Manila amplifies the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and also slows down the efficiency of the government to provide assistance to all affected constituents.
Go also encouraged investors to bring their businesses to the province to further encourage development in the countryside.