Aiming to boost rural development while providing equal opportunity to Filipinos, the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa” program is the government’s newest economic measure.

The congestion that is experienced inside Metro Manila, as well as its nearby urban cities, will be addressed among the public to encourage informal settlers, the minimum-wage earners, and the unemployed individuals for them to go back to their respective homes in the provinces.

The Rationale of Balik Probinsya Program

Gearing towards the transition of equal incentive and support of the government across the regions, everyone who decides to participate and gets approved with their application will be getting food, housing, livelihood, education, and transportation assistance. All related agencies of the administration will ensure a better life quality and improved rural economy towards an overall national growth.

The long-term plan throughout the program will be invested in small to medium-scaled businesses, transportation, agriculture, infrastructure, and healthcare system for all residents. Each local government will be responsible to effectively tackle the issues of a public health emergency, unequal financial capacity, and building communities that are resilient to modernization and technology.

Application process for the Balik Probinsya Program

Executive Order No. 114 by the President Duterte will institutionalize a balance of regional social and economic development for a balanced pillar community managed by the Balik Probinsya council. There are two easy ways on how to apply for the program: online or by visiting your barangay administrator for more details.

1. Inquire with the nearest Balik Probinsya Center

You can learn the requirements and details of the whole program from the eligibility and required documents. The link for the nearest center in your barangay can soon be found on the official website.

2. Fill out the application form

Your assessment will be based on the details that will be found upon investigation. Thus, you have to make sure to fill out the form which will be then given the Balik Probinsya personnel.

3. Submit the form for assessment

Once the Balik Probinsya personnel checks your form upon submission. You will be given a receiving copy signed by the officer as proof that you have submitted the form already.

Why is the Balik Probinsya program necessary?

Housing and employment are two factors that draw the Filipino people why people go back to their respective provinces. This usually happened for people once they fail on their dream jobs, get laid off, or when no contract renewal has been offered to them. Through the Balik Probinsya program of the government, they will be encouraging and incentivizing those who decide to participate.

The opportunities for livelihood and career growth will no longer be focused on high-rise cities and urban areas in Metro Manila and its nearby cities. Decongesting an overpopulated area will no longer be a lesser option for people who badly need the program.

Now, it becomes a privilege as they can get high wages, more facilities, and a technology-advanced community even though they will now be living on mountainous terrains, valleys, plateaus, riverside, seaside, or wherever a sturdy home can be built in the localities.

The objective also includes the introduction of a rationalized & sustainable system of fiscal incentives for domestic and export enterprises. This will support small, micro, and medium businesses while encouraging technological innovation in agriculture, fishery, and food production. Assistance packages funded by the government can increase.

Surveys and data findings supporting the Balik Probinsya Program

Through this method, Filipinos can build their households and families and adapt their life-long challenges in the comfort of the provinces where they grew up. This has been supported through the 2018 survey made by the SWS among the National Capital Region (NCR) residents where it shows that more than 20% of them aspire to move back to the province within five years.

The study has also pointed out that 30% of the potential migrants just wanted to move to another local government unit inside Metro Manila where there are more opportunities while living conveniently with lower house rental rates and food costs. On the other hand, 39% have preferred to just move in the adjacent regions like Central Luzon and Calabarzon.

Only 12% has shown interest that they wanted to move to the provinces in the Visayas, while 4% said that they wanted to go to Mindanao instead. The survey has also stated that 46% of Filipinos transferred to a different municipality or city searching for employment. More people who are currently unemployed just moved when they were employed.

The second factor for the people’s intention to move is house-related concerns while education and marriage come next. 35% of the people who wanted to go to Metro Manila graduated in high school while 36% didn’t. This means that there is no assurance that they will land a nice paying job once they set their feet on the city for employment.

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Concerns of the Balik Probinsya applicants

Various issues have been raised by province-based working groups and transport groups why they are still not confident with the program of the government to ask people to just go back to the provinces instead. Also, the cultural and prevailing poverty issues are not fully-addressed as economic migration is its focus.

Unless salaries in the provinces can be relatively high as that of the companies in Metro Manila, people will get lured to flock back for a higher wage. Metro Manila’s density of population is more than 1,000 people per square kilometer which puts people in other health risks.

In addition, the Balik Probinsya program is mainly focused on NCR but not in other regions where population density is also high. Cordillera and Central Luzon areas have highly-urbanized cities like Baguio City and Science City of Munoz where people are also migrating to.

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