KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato – The Special Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Committee XII endorsed the Regional BP2 Action Plan to the Regional BP2 Council XII during its 2nd virtual meeting on December 2, 2020.

Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Chairperson of the Special BP2 Committee XII, presided over the meeting and focused on the review and subsequent endorsement of the regional action plan.

The plan aims to empower local industries, ensure food security and agricultural productivity, promote housing, social welfare, health, employment, and human resource development, and infrastructure development needed to improve the quality of life in the rural areas.

As highlighted in the plan, based on applications received by the National Housing Authority (NHA) being the BP2 Council’s secretariat, 2,408 applicants are residing in Metro Manila who wish to return to the provinces in Region XII,  as of November 28, 2020. 

Of the total BP2 enrollees, 927 desire to go back to South Cotabato, 820 to North Cotabato, 387 to Sultan Kudarat, and 272 to Sarangani province.

The regional plan includes general strategies to implement the major thrusts and priorities of the BP2 Program. It also includes a list of proposed programs and projects that would assist the BP2 beneficiaries.

The formulation of the BP2 regional action plan is part of the committee’s mandate to coordinate the BP2 activities and advise the Regional Development Council in formulating policies to ensure the efficient implementation of the BP2 programs and projects in the region.

The committee, with NEDA Regional Director as the Vice-Chairperson, is tasked to provide technical guidance to agencies, local government units, and other private organizations in conceptualizing, designing, and financing BP2 projects.

Provincial governors, city mayors, the RDC sectoral committee chairpersons and co-chairpersons, and selected regional line agencies comprise the committee. 

During the December 2, 2020 meeting, the Committee decided to expand its membership to include two additional government agencies — the Department of Energy and the Department of Information and Communications Technology – that would have essential roles in the implementation of the BP2 program.

The committee also enjoined the local governments to identify local projects and activities that support BP2 objectives, ensure convergence of all local efforts with national priorities, facilitate the effective implementation of projects, and monitor program implementation in their areas.

The BP2 program, which was signed into law on 06 May 2020, aims to ensure equitable distribution of wealth by institutionalizing balanced development and boosting countryside growth.   It also intends to decongest Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities by encouraging people to return to their home provinces and help them in their transition by providing the necessary support like transportation, livelihood, housing, education, among others. (Eden Fornan-Ridao, NEDA XII-DRD