Senator Christopher “Bong” Go expressed his support for the continuation and expansion of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa (BP2) program.
Go reminded the Department of Social Welfare and Development during Thursday’s Senate plenary deliberations for their proposed 2024 budget to ensure that BP2 beneficiaries receive all the support and assistance due to them in accordance with the program guidelines.
The senator raised concerns regarding reports that families who have returned to the provinces through the BP2 program only received transportation allowance and are still waiting for the livelihood grants committed to them by DSWD. In response, the DSWD assured that they would act on the matter and provide the support needed to the qualified BP2 beneficiaries in coordination with the respective local government units.
Families returning to their provinces under the BP2 program may also receive community grants for livelihood, with local government units monitoring and supporting their progress, the DSWD explained.
Go emphasized the importance of the BP2 program, noting that it was established through Executive Order (EO) No. 114, which was signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte. The Senate adopted a resolution in 2020, principally sponsored by Go, urging the Executive department to formulate and implement a “Balik Probinsya” program given its significance in decongesting urban areas, promoting equitable opportunities and wealth distribution nationwide, and providing essential social services for those who wish to return to the provinces.
During the plenary session, Go engaged in a discussion with DSWD Secretary Rexlon “Rex” Gatchalian, through Sen. Imee Marcos, who was sponsoring DSWD’s budget, to also seek clarification on the program’s continuity beyond the pandemic.