DILG supports ‘Balik Probinsiya’ program after COVID 19 crisis is over
Seeing decongestion as key to preventing a second wave of COVID-19 in the nation’s capital, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) supports an administration senator’s bid to relocate residents of Metro Manila back to their province of origin through the ‘Balik Probinsiya’ program once the crisis is over.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that COVID-19, being a highly contagious disease, spreads extensively in urbanized areas. He says that Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go’s ‘Balik Probinsiya’ program can be one of the long term solutions to congestion in Metro Manila.
Año says it is evident that NCR, as a densely populated area, is the hardest hit region of the Philippines due to its ballooning number of citizens with a population density of 20,785 persons based on the 2015 Census of Population.
“Malaki ang populasyon ng Metro Manila kaya napapanahon at sang-ayon kami sa magandang mungkahi ni Senator Go. The proposed decongestion of Metro Manila is a timely measure at kailangan po natin ito,” he adds.
The ‘Balik Probinsiya’ appeal of Go asks the national government to incentivize, through provision of livelihood opportunities and financial aid, the relocation of Filipinos from NCR to the provinces after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted.
Año says that if the said proposal materializes, local government units (LGUs) nationwide, with the aid of the national government, must prepare to address the relocation needs of the people coming back to the provinces.
He encourages LGUs to prepare for the possibility of returning residents from Metro Manila in their area of responsibility by placing measures that will ensure that returning residents will be aided by LGUs.
“Kung mangyayari ito, hinihikayat natin ang mga LGU na as early as now ay mag-isip na ng mga hakbang para matugunan ang pagdating ng mga kababayan nilang magsisi-uwian mula sa Metro Manila,” he says.
Go’s ‘Balik Probinsiya’ proposal, if approved, is set to be implemented only when the COVID-19 crisis is over. “This is a good initiative but is still in need of specific guidelines before it can be rolled out. Hindi din naman ito isasalang ng pamahalaan kung hindi kumpleto ang provision at detalye lalo pa at malaki ang potensyal nito na makatutulong sa ating mga kababayan,” Año explains.
The DILG Chief says that Go’s proposal will put an end to recurring problems such as worsening traffic, uneven development, poor sanitation, poor health care and over population in urban areas.
“We will be able to address other issues, other than the COVID-19, kapag ito ay ating naisakatuparan. Mga problema ding matagal ng nagpapahirap sa ating bansa,” he says.