MinDa says ‘Balik Probinsya’ program was only rescheduled, not suspended

By Armando Fenequito Jr.

DAVAO CITY -- The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has clarified that the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa” (BP2) Program of the government has not been suspended and that the return of urban dwellers to their respective provinces was only rescheduled.

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

This was the explanation of MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Thursday afternoon, after National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. said, in a press briefing earlier that the BP2 Program was suspended to prioritize the return of stranded individuals in Metro Manila to their respective provinces.

"Escalada, who is the BP2 Program executive director, said the suspension was a strategy since there is a mixed up of population and there is a need for the program to give way," he said.

Piñol said Escalada called him saying it was not suspended but the transfer schedule of the families from Metro Manila to the provinces had just been reset to address concerns of the local government units on their preparedness in receiving the dwellers.

“In fact, the decision of the BP2 Program Council to defer the scheduled return of the families was in response to the suggestion of the local government units (LGU) in Mindanao that they be given enough time to prepare the facilities on the ground like shelter and livelihood activities,” he said.

The secretary said that he welcomed the rescheduling of the dweller's return so that their team could prepare the first three model resettlements in two to three months.

He said Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte would most probably be the first LGU ready to establish the model BPBPP Village complete with housing and livelihood projects.

“The opening of the Kauswagan Village is expected early September of this year,” he said.