Certify ‘Balik Probinsya’ bill as urgent, lawmaker asks Duterte

Published April 24, 2021, 2:14 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative LRay Villafuerte on Saturday, April 24, appealed to President Duterte to certify as urgent his bill aiming to boost investments, create jobs and drive strong growth outside the metropolis.

Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The House Bill (HB) No. 6970 or the proposed “Balik Probinsya Incentives Act” would “finally end the country’s traditional overreliance on Greater Manila as its main engine of economic growth and development,” Villafuerte, a former Camarines Sur governor, said.

The measure sets up a national action plan (NAP) for the Duterte administration’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa (BP2) program.

“On top of finally decongesting Metro Manila and neighboring urban centers, putting President Duterte’s BP2 program on the fast track via HB 6970 will encourage investors to set up shop in, or expand their present businesses in Greater Manila to, the regions, thereby leading at last to genuine and vibrant countryside or rural development,’’ he pointed out.

He said the bill has also been endorsed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

Villafuerte said the presidential endorsement of HB 6970 would also complement the recent presidential endorsement for urgent congressional approval of three pending bills proposing amendments to the Foreign Investments Act (FIA), Public Service Act (PSA) and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA) — all seeking to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the country.

“The approval of these four measures will have the effect of funneling business capital into cities and municipalities outside the National Capital Region (NCR) and its adjacent provinces where economic activity and investments have been concentrated for decades,” he explained.

Villafuerte at the same time called on the House leadership to act on HB 6970, “instead of squandering the chamber’s time and energy on the counterproductive and highly divisive Charter Change (Cha-Cha) initiative—Resolution of Both Houses No. 2—being spearheaded by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.”