By Armando Fenequito Jr.
DAVAO CITY – The Province of Bukidnon has offered one of its town to be the resettlement site for beneficiaries of the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program of the national government.
This was bared by Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol in a statement released on Sunday afternoon.
Piñol said Bukidnon Governor Jose Zubiri offered a vast vegetable production area in the municipality of Talakag to be the resettlement area of BP2 beneficiaries.
He said that the area has an elevation of over 1,400-meters above sea level, and was part of a declared military reservation under Presidential Proclamation 134 in 1963 by President Diosdado Macapagal that straddles the boundaries of several towns of Bukidnon, including Wao, Lanao del Sur.
“On Thursday morning, after spending the night in a small lodging house in Talakag proper, I and the team from MinDA inspected the prospective ‘Balik’ resettlement area in the town. Residents will be introduced to high value vegetable production, including strawberry farming, with the help of experts from the Cordillera,” he said.
Piñol said the Talakag Balik Probinsya Resettlement Village will be designed in the same pattern as the Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte model.
“Accompanied by Talakag Mayor Vergito Factura and farmer leader Ryan Daño, we were briefed on the potentials of the area for food production with the support of government through farm to market roads, small water impounding systems, solar irrigation and vegetable processing and packing facilities,” he said.
He said it was Zubiri who suggested that returning residents of the province from the congested urban centers are resettled in the area to turn the vast land into production areas for high value vegetable.
“They have to work and become productive members of their province, that’s what the Governor told me when I called on him three weeks ago as we introduced the “Balik Probinsya” program which is being pushed by Senator Christopher Lawrence Go and supported by President Rodrigo Duterte,” he said.
Piñol said the program aims to shift development efforts in the countryside while at the same time decongesting the urban centers of informal settlers.
He said MinDA has already identified four resettlement areas, including the Talakag Village, in the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Norte and Bukidnon.
“Next week, the MinDA team will revisit Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Surigao del Norte and Sur, Davao Del Sur and Agusan del Norte which are among the Mindanao provinces with huge numbers of residents who would like to come home from Metro Manila under the “Balik Probinsya” Program,” he said.