Senator Christopher “Bong” Go attended the local launch of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program at the Bagong Pag-asa Green Village in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte on Tuesday, November 24.
He joined General Manager Marcelino P. Escalada Jr. of the National Housing Authority, who also serves as the BP2 Council Executive Director, and other officials of BP2 partner agencies as well as local officials, in leading the ceremonial turnover of funds that will be used for housing assistance to BP2 beneficiaries. Model houses were also showcased during the activity.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa lokal na pamahalaan ng Lanao del Norte at tinanggap niyo ang programang daan tungo sa kaunlaran lalo na sa mga Pilipinong gustong umuwi sa kanilang mga probinsya,” said Go.
(I am thankful for the local government of Lanao del Norte for welcoming our program aimed at helping our fellow Filipinos go back to their home provinces.)
According to the organizers, the six-hectare community will be dedicated to hosting returnees to Lanao del Norte who would qualify as beneficiaries of the BP2 program. Those expected to permanently resettle in the community are from Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
Part of the community is dedicated to housing comprising of 25 quadruplex units allotted for the initial 100 BP2 beneficiary-families, which will be constructed by the NHA and will be equipped with basic services, like electricity and water supply. The rest of the land will be developed for crop and livestock production and processing.
The BP2 program is a comprehensive, multi-sectoral and whole-of-government initiative which seeks to decongest Metro Manila and enhance regional development by incentivizing residents and businesses to settle and invest in areas outside Metropolitan areas.
It places emphasis on four key result areas, namely: (1) the empowerment of local industries; (2) food security and agricultural productivity; (3) housing, social welfare, health, employment and human resource development; and (4) infrastructure development. Beneficiaries who are returning to their provinces can expect to receive assistance on transportation, housing and livelihood, among others, subject to assessment.
“The program will provide beneficiaries with new hope and a fresh start amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, let me be clear that it also aims to resolve more than just the issues encountered during the health crisis,” added the Senator.
“It will also address congestion, lack of decent living, criminality, poor sanitation as well as environmental degradation. It should be seen as a long-term solution with the intent of addressing perennial problems common in urban areas,” he explained further.
Presently, Lanao del Norte is one of five pilot provinces in which the program has been introduced, the others being Camarines Sur, Isabela, Leyte and Zamboanga del Norte. The program’s activities for Kauswagan will be implemented by the newly-established project management office (PMO) under the leadership of Kauswagan Mayor Rommel C. Arnado.