Zambo Norte is pilot area for ‘Balik Probinsya’ program

Published May 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Armando Fenequito Jr.

DAVAO CITY – The Province of Zamboanga del Norte will be the first rural resettlement model for informal urban dwellers who would like to join the “Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-asa” Program (BPBPP) that was already signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday.

MinDA Chairman Manny Piñol (MinDA / MANILA BULLETIN)
MinDA Chairman Manny Piñol

This was confirmed by Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Wednesday.

Piñol said Governor Roberto Uy eagerly volunteered his province to host the model BPBPP Rural Resettlement Community after MinDA presented the concept during a meeting at the Provincial Capitol in Dipolog City on Tuesday.

“During the meeting, Governor Uy said the program could support his vision to lift the province from the ignominious club of the poorest provinces in the country. He will also provide an area, at least 50 hectares, for the BPBPP Rural Resettlement Model good for 200 returning Zambo Norte families who are now among the informal urban dwellers in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu,” he said.

Piñol said that Uy also agreed that the first BPBPP Rural Resettlement Model will be focused on one common activity, preferably agriculture or fisheries based.

He said Uy told them that they will follow the recommendation of the MinDA that the community should be involved in a common activity with a complete value chain to ensure that the “Balik Probinsya” families will earn and stay home for good and contribute to the province’s goal of reducing poverty.

Piñol said the land area, along with support funds to start a livelihood project, will be the provincial government’s initial counterpart in the establishment of the Balik Probinsya Rural Resettlement.

Uy said that after the first model is established, the provincial government will replicate it in other areas of the province with a land area of over 700,000 hectares.

Piñol said after Zamboanga del Norte, he will proceed to Lanao del Norte to present the program to Governor Imelda Q. Dimaporo and Kauswagan town Mayor Rommel Arnado.

“On Thursday (May 7), I will meet with Bukidnon Governor Jose Zubiri to propose the establishment of a vegetable and strawberry production-based Balik Probinsya Rural Resettlement Community in his province,” he said.

Piñol said the Zamboanga del Norte “Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-asa” Model Rural Resettlement Community concept will be presented during the next conference of the BPBPP Inter-Agency Task Force via Zoom presided by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“Under the ‘Balik Probinsya’ concept, it was agreed that that implementation of the BPBPP will be a “whole-of-nation approach” where each agency is expected to contribute to its success,” he said.

The BPBPP as conceptualized by Senator Go aimed at decongesting the urban centers by convincing informal urban dwellers and even highly-skilled migrant workers from the rural areas to return home to their provinces.

The “returnees” will be given initial financial support, housing, and training to prepare them for income earning opportunities, including support services such as roads leading to the resettlement areas, irrigation, and market linkage.

MinDA designed several models of the Rural Resettlement Communities under the BPBPP to include communal activities such as poultry raising, hog raising, goat raising, and dairy production, vegetable production, tree farming, and fruit production, cattle fattening, fish cage farming, and even commercial fishing operations.

Another model designed by MinDA involves the establishment of processing facilities by private partners which will utilize provincial workers and local raw materials produced by both local farmers and “Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-asa” participants.