As we aim for inclusive sustainability and progress, our country’s journey is inevitably postponed as COVID-19 cases continue to increase. For many years, major government operations, business and housing development, to mention a few, are all located in leading urban cities. This situation impels thousands of Filipinos from rural areas to relocate themselves in Metro Manila and other vibrant cities with hopes of having better job opportunities to achieve quality of life. The sudden arrival of COVID 19, ushered the realization that we need to decongest the metropolis to protect Filipino lives.
What we are faced now is a grave concern. We see the LGUs’ struggle in keeping people just to stay inside their homes to maintain social distancing on top of balancing essential provisions that have been largely aggravated by the living conditions of the rural settlers, packed like sardines in a poverty-stricken, virus-susceptible tin can. Their current situation makes them highly vulnerable to the unseen, contagious adversary. This is the amalgamated result of years and years of economic imbalance that COVID-19 scares us. It may have been too late to realize but it is never too late for a paradigm shift. This unfortunate situation calls not for band-aid type of solutions but for sustainable, long-term ones such as Senator Bong Go’s laudable “Balik Probinsya Program”.
The Balik-Probinsya Program aims to decongest urban centers by providing free transportation, incentives and opportunities to settlers who seek to relocate themselves to the provinces. This brilliant move by Senator Go will aid the long existing predicament in the country in terms of progress and population as it coincides well with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Build, Build, Build Program. With these two combined, small provinces like the ones in Mindanao will transform into investment-worthy areas and can be developed as significant producers of the country’s agricultural and even industrial needs. Improved agrarian production for crops, fruits and vegetables; inland fisheries and other aquaculture production; improved cattle farming for meat and dairy production; poultry and hog raising developed as food processing industries; tree farming for manufacturing furniture: those are just some of the many opportunities that we can explore on. The decongestion of people in large cities will result in easier mitigation of the current pandemic we are facing. With fewer people around, social distancing can be efficiently observed and will result in a decrease in viral transmission.
If duly implemented, this will be a win-win solution for all of us. With Senator Go’s Balik Probinsya Program and PRRD’s ongoing Build, Build, Build Program, we are reducing Metro Manila as well as the other urban centers’ load and we are paving the way towards rural development, providing inclusive, equal opportunities for both professionals and entrepreneurs alike. Backed with the administration’s peace and order and anti-corruption campaign, we are securing the future of the Filipinos and of our country for the following years to come.
This pandemic has indeed shaken our country in epic proportions but there are lessons here that demand to be noticed. I believe that it is high time for us to unite as a nation and empower not just a portion but the entire country, and as a nation we will arrive in the haven of progress and stability.
My endless salutation goes to Senator Bong Go for his ingenuity and my support for President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration. Congratulations sirs!
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