The Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Committee of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) approved its 2021 biannual accomplishment report and Work and Financial Plan for this year during its first semester meeting held virtually on February 15, 2022.

Regional Director Susan Sumbeling of the Cordillera National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) reported that the member agencies of the committee were able to implement 553 projects amounting to Php2.6 million during the second half of 2021 based on initial submissions. Advocacy activities were also conducted through the BP2 Strategic Communications Technical Working Group.

She reported the challenges encountered which include the mismatch between pre-identified assistance and needs of the beneficiaries. The Central Office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) suggested to use the DA’s Unified Livelihood Assistance Tool (ULAT) to address this concern.

For this year, the committee intends to sustain its program advocacy through increased awareness activities especially with the production of the BP2 brochure, and to continue coordinating the dispatch operations. Eight beneficiaries are targeted for dispatch for 2022.

Director Alicia Ilaga, BP2 Program and DA Deputy Spokesperson, said that the department increased the program budget allocation for the Cordillera to Php6 million this year. This will support diversified livelihood module that is relevant to the locality and integrate the beneficiaries to cooperatives and associations so they can engage in bigger agribusiness activities. These projects intend to cater not only to the program beneficiaries but also the receiving local communities and residents.

Likewise, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-CAR) programmed Php 28.9 million for community-based project livelihood with technical trainings which includes assistance to BP2 beneficiaries. Other committee member agencies also manifested their program commitment plans for the year.

Agriculture Undersecretary Leo Sebastian, who presided the meeting, reiterated the need to create a demand driven atmosphere by disseminating the opportunities offered by the program that would encourage more families to avail and go back to the provinces. A family of six returned home to Apayao with the assistance of the committee in 2021.

Secretary William Dar of DA and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for the Cordillera serves as the Chairperson of the BP2 Committee, a support committee of the RDC-CAR created in 2020.