By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go today said that the proposed “Balik Probinsya” (Back to the Province) program could help make the delivery of government assistance more efficient especially during crisis periods such as the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
President Duterte signed Wednesday an executive order approving the Go-proposed ‘’Balik Probonsya’’ program.
“(May mga) nagiging issues sa implementasyon ng Social Amelioration Program ng gobyerno ngayon. Isang rason nito ay ang pagkahiwa-hiwalay ng mga miyembro ng pamilya. Nasa Maynila sila habang ang pamilya nila ay nasa probinsya (There are some issues now in the implementation of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the government. One of the reasons for this is that some families are not staying together. They are in Manila while their families are in the provinces),’’ Go said.
“Mas mapapadali at mas magiging maayos ang pagbibigay ng tulong sa mga tao kung bibigyan natin sila ng oportunidad na mabuo ang pamilya nila sa iisang bahay sa pamamagitan ng Balik Probinsya Program,’’ he added. (The delivery of assistance to the people will be easier and more efficient if they will be given the opportunity to be together in one house through the Balik Probinsya Program.)
Go lamented that the lack of job opportunities in the countryside eventually led to the congestion of urban centers, like Metro Manila, resulting to their separation from their loved ones as they migrate and find opportunities in the city.
The senator from Davao explained that this also contributes to unforeseen instances of duplication of the provision of social amelioration to Filipino families who are scattered throughout the country as breadwinners are stranded in Metro Manila because of travel restrictions.
Meanwhile, Go commended the individuals who returned duplicated social amelioration aid, saying that Filipino honesty and kindheartedness live through amid the pandemic.
A tricycle driver in Pasay City was recently reported returning the emergency cash aid from the government upon learning that his wife earlier received the same in Nueva Ecija.
An Ati from San Enrique town, Iloilo was also reported to have returned an assistance grant because she is already an active member of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) which entitles her for a similar kind of aid as top up to the regular 4Ps grant.
Go also urged LGUs to be transparent and report how they distributed the Social Amelioration Funds downloaded to them by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to their constituents.
“Let us address the challenges in the distribution and make sure those who are deserving are provided the assistance that they are entitled to receive in this time of need,” he said.
To further address the challenges in the distribution of assistance and to ensure that more Filipinos benefit from various government programs, Go explained that a “Balik Probinsya” program aims to give Filipinos economic opportunities in the countryside, therefore eliminating the need for them to migrate to Metro Manila and be separated from their families.
Go also said that during his visits at fire scenes, he has met several residents who have expressed willingness to return to their provinces. However, their reluctance is anchored on the lack of job opportunities in the countryside.
To encourage city dwellers to return to their provinces, Go said that the government is currently crafting a long-term plan to create economic opportunities in the countryside and boost regional development for returning individuals and families to start their life anew in their home provinces.