The government will need to focus more resources to set up basic facilities for the success of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa program, said Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA)
In a press release Sunday night, Piñol, whose agency announced that it has completed the consultations about the program with local government units (LGUs), said that facilities like farm to market roads, irrigation, storage, and processing will provide local producers access to markets.
In turn, this will provide them with more opportunities that are to be created with the implementation of the program which will prompt the government to entice new capital through the implementation of incentives.
Piñol, whose group travelled to Manila by land over the weekend, will meet with the proponent of the program, Sen. Christopher Lawrence T. Go, and program manager Marcelino B Escalada Jr., general manager of the National Housing Authority, to discuss with them the result of the consultations.
“I will present to them the concerns of the LGUs, specifically Lanao del Norte and Zamboanga del Norte so that these will be taken into consideration as we stage the roll-out of the three model resettlements,” said Piñol, whose group with the governors of the two provinces and their mayors during the last week of May.
The program has tapped 22 government agencies and is employing the whole of nation approach for its success. Piñol said the program is not just a palliative solution to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, but a mechanism to develop the rural areas of the country as well as decongest Manila Law by providing more resources in these underdeveloped areas.
Spelled out in Executive Order 70, the whole of nation approach was first thought of as a mechanism to address the insurgency in the country. It has become a major government program to develop the rural areas, many of them known as those influenced by the rebels.
Piñol also said that the program has not yet started in Mindanao, contrary to previous reports that it has taken off. He said, having vast experience in government including crisis management, he will not implement a program without consulting the stakeholders.
“The most important guiding philosophy I have embraced in governance is to build programs from the ground up and that the most solid foundations of any program are those which are made up of the dreams and aspirations of people who will be affected,” he added.
The program, he said, will address the flawed development policy of the government which has been there for so long.
“This (flawed policy) has resulted in a massive migration to the big cities, or even overseas, and stunted the development of the countryside causing very low productivity and widespread poverty,” he said, adding that the program will allow government to shift its development efforts to the rural areas “where it is most needed and where the poverty level is high.”
Among the concepts that the agency is planning to implement, to entice both the workers and the companies, is to provide better wages and attractive incentives to them, respectively.
Although the business sector has agreed that attractive incentives will be a welcome development, John Carlo B. Tria, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the implication of better wages needs to be studied.