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P61-B Projects Eyed For ‘Balik Probinsya’ In Eastern Visayas

P61-B Projects Eyed For ‘Balik Probinsya’ In Eastern Visayas

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Eastern Visayas is eyeing at least PHP61.14 billion worth of projects to carry out the central government’s “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa” (BP2) program until 2023.

Priority activities for BP2 are contained in the new action plan approved by the newly-formed Regional Development Council (RDC) – Special BP2 during its meeting on February 11, chief of the policy formulation and planning division of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 8 (Eastern Visayas), Annielyn Costiniano, said in a phone interview on Thursday.

“The BP2 programs are focused on the livelihood and settlement of the BP2 beneficiaries. Among which are the development and construction of the house and lot packages for BP2 beneficiaries in various locations in Eastern Visayas, to be funded by NHA (National Housing Authority), and various livelihood projects comprising 25 percent of the amount proposed,” Costiniano told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Another focus is infrastructure and development projects, such as farm-to-market roads, and the establishment of broadband networks to support agriculture and agri-business ventures of BP2 recipients, she added.

The approval of the action plan came as the BP2 program is expected to go full blast with the easing of movement restrictions due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The committee immediately drafted the plan since Eastern Visayas ranks as the top destination for returnees under the BP2 program based on applications received by the NHA, the BP2’s secretariat reported.

Latest data available shows that 21,684 applicants residing in Metro Manila have expressed their desire to return to Leyte and Samar provinces, Costiniano said.

The action plan is centered on the empowerment of local industries; food security and agricultural productivity; housing, social welfare, health, employment, and human resource development; and infrastructure development.

The BP2 action plan will be presented in the first-quarter full council meeting of the RDC next month for subsequent endorsement to the National BP2 Council.

Launched in June 2020, BP2 aims to address Metro Manila’s congested urban areas by encouraging people, especially informal settlers, to return to their home provinces and help them in this transition with support and incentives on transportation, family, livelihood, housing, subsistence, and education, among others. (PNA)

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