By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has called on residents in the National Capital Region (NCR) to sign up for the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program, a unified government initiative that seeks to foster new urban centers and push for a more balanced regional development across the country.
Abdulgani Macatoman, DTI Undersecretary for Special Concerns and Trade Promotions Group (TPG), said Metro Manila residents who want to return to their provinces can avail socioeconomic and livelihood assistance under the BP2 program.
Macatoman said the BP2 program will streamline robust rural development and promote equal opportunities between urban and rural areas, as well as decongest Metro Manila which is currently the hardest-hit region by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Institutionalized through Executive Order 114 and formally launched on May 20, the BP2 program is an initiative that seeks to ensure balanced regional development and equitable distribution of wealth, resources, and opportunities through policies and programs that boost countryside development and inclusive growth.
This program is geared towards addressing Metro Manila’s congested urban areas by encouraging people, especially informal settlers to return to their home provinces and assist them in this transition with support and incentives on transportation, family, livelihood, housing, subsistence and education, among others.
The government expects one million residents from Metro Manila to join the BP2 program in six months.
For the beneficiaries, Macatoman clarified the program will prioritize those persons with disabilities (PWDs) or those who belong in informal settler families (ISFs), particularly those who are living in danger zones such as flood-prone rivers and waterways.
“For the part of DTI, we will provide starting kits for business and livelihood on the barangay level in the initial phase of the program under the ‘Negosyo sa Barangay’ program. MSMEs can also take advantage of our loaning program with very minimal interest under the ‘Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso,’” Macatoman said.
For the next phases of the program, Macatoman said that the DTI is eyeing to rationalize a purposeful system of fiscal incentives to develop forward and backward linkages and export- and domestic-oriented enterprises. The trade department is also looking to encourage the transfer of medium and large businesses to provincial economic hubs by providing better access to markets and creating a fully integrated value chain.
Those who want to register in the BP2 Program may apply online at the balikprobinsya.ph or head to the nearest Balik Probinsya Centers. For other questions and inquiries, interested individuals may also contact Balik Probinsya Centers through their hotline at 09190692530 or 09190657896