BAGUIO CITY – To address the national government’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program, the Cordillera Regional Development Council passed a resolution creating the Regional Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa (BP2) Support Committee with Department of Agriculture Secretary and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for the Cordillera William Dar as chairperson.

The BP2 support committee functions as the regional counterpart of the national BP2 council which implements Executive Order No. 114 “Institutionalizing The Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa  Program as A Pillar of Balanced Regional Development, Creating A Council Therefor, and for Other Purposes”. The BP2 implements the long-proposed decentralization of wealth, resources and opportunities from the National Capital Region and other congested metropolitan areas to the other, less dense, and less concentrated areas of the country.

Its implementation was fast-tracked and changed due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic which exposed the vulnerability of congested, high-density metropolises to disease outbreaks and pandemics.

NEDA-CAR Regional Director and RDC Vice-Chair Milagros Rimando emphasized that this program is in line with the Cordillera Regional Development Plan as well as the Philippine Development Plan.

DTI Regional Director and RDC Economic Development Committee Chair Myrna Pablo noted that agencies must ensure proper allocation in their respective budgets to prepare for the provision of services to these returning citizens. DILG Regional Director Marlo Iringan also emphasized that chief executives of the LGUs must be active members of the committee as they are at the forefront of handling the localized BP2 program. RDC Chair and Abra Governor Joy Bernos stressed that the LGUs as well as the private sector will bear the impact of BP2.

Benguet League of Municipalities President and Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan emphasized that the region must implement its own measures. Economic centers like Baguio City and Itogon, among others in the Cordillera, host people who came from other provinces with the intention of finding better working opportunities. Mayor Palangdan cited the small scale miners of Itogon who have come from Ifugao, Kalinga, and other places who have been stranded and unable to go home due to the pandemic.

The BP2 Committee will formulate an action plan with the participation of both government and non-government organizations. The committee will also provide guidance to the LGUs and promote market investment in the region. Key areas of focus are the empowerment of local industries, food security, agricultural productivity, social welfare, health, employment, human resources development, and infrastructure development.