The President institutionalized the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program as a continuing national program and a pillar of balanced regional development. The guidelines for the BP2 Program, including the creation of the Balik, Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Council, are contained in Executive Order No. 114 issued on 6 May 2020. Here are the salient points of EO 114.
EO 114 notes that the uncontrolled upsurge of population in the National Capital Region (NCR) brings to the fore longstanding issues on the lack of viable and sustainable deployment opportunities in the countryside, unbalanced regional development, and unequal distribution of wealth. To reverse migration to the NCR and other congested urban centers, as well as to attain rural prosperity through equitable distribution of wealth, resources and opportunities, a balanced regional development program to foster socially cohesive, resilient and sustainable rural communities needs to be institutionalized.
The BO2 Progam has four key areas, intended to drive inclusive and balanced urban and rural development, ensure rural prosperity and complement initiatives towards attaining resilient and sustainable communities.
1. Empowerment of Local Industries
Introduce a sustainable program for pubic sector investment and private sector participation that promotes regional development. Support shall be particularly provided to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to foster the continued growth of the sector, and the rationalization of a purposeful system of fiscal incentives shall br prioritized to develop forward and backward linkages and export- and domestic-oriented enterprises, access to markets and a fully integrated value chain and encourage the transfer of medium and large businesses to provincial economic hubs.
2. Food Security and Agricultural Productivity
Encourage and facilitate innovations and technologies for agricultural production, such as modern rice farming techniques, seed production and farm mechanization, conducive to long-term and sustainable rural development. Local agricultural industries shall be supported and strengthened through infrastructure and financial support, such as but not limited to loans sourced from the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhanced Fund, as well as existing incentives given to agricultural cooperatives.
Measures to take advantage of economies of scale in agricultural production, promote value chain production, increase farm incomes, and improve the quality of life of farmers, shall be pursued.
3. Social Welfare, Health and Employment
Comprehensive assistance packages shall be designed to encourage the voluntary and immediate movement to their respective home provinces of workers and overseas Filipino workers, especially those stranded in the NCR due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
Local health facilities shall be upgraded and local health capacity shall be improved to address the health needs of the community, such as building more hospitals and clinics, providing more ambulances and enhancing medical scholarship programs, among others.
Educational institutions and technical and vocational schools shall be built in strategic rural areas, state universities and colleges shall be linked to industries, through, among others, conversion of their idle lands into science or technology parks. Access to Open Distance Learning shall also be enhanced in rural communities.
Employment shall be created and restored through various support programs and assistance packages, including resettlement to provincial township sites and community interventions or projects based on area/resettlement site.
4. Development of Infrastructure
Infrastructure such as means of transport and communications, power resources, and irrigation facilities which support the operation and development of other sectors of the economy shall be developed in all the different regions of the country. The completion of existing and future railway projects to facilitate the movement of people, as well as the creation and improvement of transport terminals and construction of public markets in communities, shall be prioritized.
THE SP2 COUNCIL
The Council is composed of the Executive Secretary as the Chairperson, the Director General, National Economic and Development Authority as Vice Chairperson, and heads of the following departments as members: DILG, DSWD, DA, DAR, DTI, DOLE, DOH, DICT, DOF, DBM, DPWH, DHSUD, DepEd, CHED, DENR, TESDA, MDA, and CDA.
The Council is tasked to formulate, within 30 days, the guidelines necessary to implement the BP2 Program Framework. The Council is also tasked to provide overall direction in the implementation of the BP2 Program.