Agriculture Sec. William Dar set into motion the implementation of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) in a meeting with the Cordillera Regional Development Council.
Dar, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (Cords) for Cordillera, said the BP2 program institutionalized through Executive Order 114 of President Rodrigo Duterte aims to give opportunity to city dwellers and their families to return to their hometown or relocate in rural areas to start anew.
The BP2 program was set for implementation in May but was held in abeyance due to the influx of locally stranded individuals who have been and still being assisted in going home to their residences.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who now serves as chairperson of the BP2 National Executive Council, mandated the Cords to lead the implementation of the program.
“Being Cords for Cordillera, it is my responsibility to work with the Regional Development Council to pursue this BP2 Program. I will be happy, if after this meeting everyone will have the same appreciation and understanding of this program before it is fully implemented on the ground,” Dar said.
During the meeting, National Housing Authority OIC Architect Elizabeth Joseph gave a briefing on the BP2 program, related updates, and on the profile of Cordillera beneficiaries that applied for the program.
DA Asec. for Strategic Communication Noel Reyes also presented the agriculture department’s program for BP2, particularly on food security and agricultural productivity, while the National Economic and Development Authority-Cordillera presented a draft regional BP2 action plan.
The Cordillera RDC headed by NEDA will be formulating regional and provincial implementing guidelines and procedures for BP2. It was agreed upon that Baguio and Benguet will be the pilot areas.
The BP2 requires a whole-of-nation approach and shall provide the beneficiaries with the vital support services from various government agencies.
The NHA, as the lead agency, is validating and finalizing the program beneficiaries for the Cordillera, which has 527 applicants as of Oct. 30.
Dar has called for stronger partnership with the RDC for the accelerated implementation of the program in the region. – Carlito C. Dar