Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday appealed to businesses and investors to support his proposed “Balik Probinsya” program which primarily aims to mitigate and resolve long-standing issues in urban areas, especially Metro Manila, spurring rural development after the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis is over.
“Sa mga negosyante po, sana ay magbukas kayo ng mga factory, planta, o ano pa mang job opportunities sa mga kababayan nating Pilipino na gusto na pong manatili sa kanilang mga probinsya (To businessmen, please open factories, plants or any job opportunities to our fellow Filipinos who already wish to stay in their provinces),” Go said, noting that investments in the countryside will attract more people to eventually go back to the provinces.
“This would also lead to rural development,” he added.
Go said the proposal also has the added benefit of reuniting families that have been separated for a long time due to jobs that require employees to relocate to business districts.
With the proposed “Balik Probinsya” program, the chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography noted that the government can also facilitate the decongestion of the metropolis, which will eventually help solve perennial issues of overpopulation, heavy traffic, and pollution, as well as in preparing for future possible disease outbreaks, other crises, and natural disasters.
“Decongesting urban areas will mitigate and resolve long-standing issues that accelerate the spread of diseases like Covid-19 due to highly dense communities resulting in a faster rate of transmission, poor sanitation, overburdened health care facilities, and inefficiencies in the delivery of services,” he said.
The Balik Probinsya program is one of the long-term solutions proposed by Go to current problems that have adversely affected the country’s ability to respond to the Covid-19 health crisis.
The program aims to assist Filipino families who wish to relocate to the provinces after the state of public health emergency and the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) measures are lifted.
The program includes providing incentives and livelihood opportunities to those who wish to go back to their respective provinces when the Covid-19 outbreak has been finally controlled.
Go said once this proposal becomes a national priority, its implementation will result to the more efficient delivery of public goods and services that can benefit all regions and would also lead to equitable development all throughout the country.
The Balik Probinsya program has already garnered the full support of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez assuring Friday that the government would provide incentives for businesses that will open in the provinces.
He said the government will also provide financial assistance to those who seek to open micro, small or medium enterprises in the provinces.
Meanwhile, Go said the government must be ready to provide the public with the means and incentives to go back to the provinces for good once the Covid-19 crisis is resolved.
While admitting that this will not be an easy feat given the massive preparations needed to be undertaken to implement the move in such limited time, he stressed that decongesting Metro Manila and other metropolitan areas have to be done immediately to put an end to recurring problems.
“Magtulungan at magbayanihan po tayo para malampasan ang krisis na ito. Sa bawat problema nating hinaharap, oportunidad rin ito na magkaroon ng mas maayos at mas matatag na bansa (Let us help and cooperate with each other to overcome this crisis. For every problem we face, there is also the opportunity to have a more progressive and stronger nation),” Go said. (PNA)