BAGUIO CITY – On October 30, The Cordillera Regional Development Council convened the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Committee, chaired by Agriculture Secretary and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for CAR (CORDS-CAR) William Dar. The first meeting of the committee set out to gather specific regional issues in relation to the national program for decongesting Metro Manila and other Highly Urbanized Cities. Ensuring livelihood programs or employment is the priority for returning Cordillerans.

The members of the committee, comprised of regional line agencies led by the Department of Agriculture and the National Economic and Development Authority agreed to set guidelines for the regional implementation of the BP2 program. NEDA-CAR shall serve as the overall secretariat of the committee with the assistance of DA-CAR. NEDA-CAR Regional Director Milagros Rimando emphasized that the BP2 program does not only apply to returning beneficiaries from Metro Manila but also to those who have gone to highly urbanized areas like Baguio City from different provinces in search of livelihood opportunities.

Mayor Victorio Palangdan of Itogon also stressed that his municipality likewise caters to migrants from all over the region due to employment opportunities in mining.

BP2 CAR Chairman Dar called for the formation of a technical working group of regional line agencies led by NEDA-CAR to consolidate projects and programs that will help fast track the achievement of the BP2 program, particularly for livelihood and housing. Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon Raul Lambino also urged the body to pursue the development of economic zones beyond the Baguio City Economic Zone managed by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to encourage development outside BLISTT and into other parts of the region.

The Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa (BP2.) is in-line with the administration’s push for development beyond Metro Manila. Intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic, the administration issued Executive Order 114 “Institutionalizing The Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program As A Pillar Of Balanced Regional Development, Creating A Council Therefor, And For Other Purposes”.