Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

MANILA – Former Negros Oriental lawmaker Jacinto “Jing” Paras, now Undersecretary in the Office of the President, on Friday (24 April 2020) said he fully supports Senator Bong Go’s Balik-Probinsya Program and appeals to his Kababayans and friends in Congress to support the Program by disseminating information about the program’s appropriateness and wisdom. 

He further appealed to all the Visayans who are in Metro Manila to go back to their provinces as the Balik-Probinsya Program of Sen Bong Go unfolds.

According to Usec Paras, the  Balik-Probinsya Program was envisioned by Senator Bong Go when he noticed that so many people from the provinces flocked the urban centers, especially in Metro Manila, because, being poor and lacking the opportunities to earn a living in their home provinces, these people believe that by leaving their respective provinces for urban areas they are able to land in any kind of job and gain whatever income.

As more and more people land in the urban centers, especially in Metro Manila, they saturate different areas causing overpopulation, and congestion resulting to traffic, pollution and waste of resources.

Paras said, the beauty of Senator Bong Go’s program is, it will encourage people to go back to their provinces because the government will provide incentives and free transportation apart from their opportunity  of getting new jobs as a result of the diversion of investments and building of factories and creation of new businesses in the provinces.

Primary aim

To fulfill his plan, Senator Bong Go appealed to businessmen and investors to bring their money to the provinces and support his Program with the primary aim of eradicating or mitigating the long-standing issues of urban center congestion, pollution, traffic and criminality.

All these problems became more apparent in the light of the Covid-19 crisis which made Metro Manila the epicenter of Covid-19 infections.

In his address to the businessman in Pilipino, Sen Bong Go said: “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 further said, noting that investments in the countryside will attract more people to eventually go back to the provinces, “my Program would lead to rural development. Lastly, he said, the new jobs created under the program which requires these peoples’ relocation will have the benefit of reuniting families that have been separated for a long time.

Appointed last January as Presidential assistant for Legislative Affairs, Paras said, you cannot go wrong with the bright idea of Senator Bong Go, which is strongly supported by President Duterte. 

The Balik-Probinsya Program, which will lure large families of probinsyanos to go back to the provinces because the comprehensive plans of the Program provide very good incentives to bring investments, build factories and other new businesses in the provinces (rural areas) thus creating many jobs for those who come back to these provinces.

Paras also pointed out that it is high time for the government to go all out with the Balik-Probinsya program to save Metro Manila from further congestion and stand still traffic with another possibility of nightmarish coronavirus cases in the future. 

Densely populated

Being a densely populated area, Paras said, Metro Manila emerged to have the biggest number of coronavirus cases in the whole country.

Out of the country’s 6,710 cases of the killer coronavirus disease, Metro Manila has the biggest slice of the pie at 4,591.

 DOH’s online tracker says Metro Manila alone also has 298 deaths and 456 recoveries.

“With the figures, it is only practical for us to consider and take decisive actions in preparation for the “new normal” after the pandemic is over,” the former three-term congressman from Negros Oriental said.

To make the Balik-Probinsya Program more effective, Paras suggested that there should be equal massive development in the agricultural sector.

The agriculture sector has not been properly given enough funds when in fact, the Philippines has always been considered as an agricultural country.

Rethink on the 4Ps

Paras suggested that, if funds are needed to strengthen Senator Bong Go’s Program, it’s about time to rethink on the 4Ps Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development by diverting part of the very large funds, specifically for agricultural development.

Some sectors are saying that the 4Ps Program is a form of dole-out which encourages Filipinos to be lazy instead of being industrious and earn from their own initiative rather than be solely dependent on government amelioration.

It should be noted that most of the people who flocked Metro Manila came from farmers’ family in the provinces and were raised in farmlands, thus there must be enough incentives to encourage them to go back to farming. (ia/

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