On October 23, 2020, the CALABARZON Regional Development Council’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Committee held its first meeting via videoconference to prepare the Regional BP2 Action Plan. The plan will guide the region in planning, implementing, and monitoring programs and projects that will develop communities to become a highly-livable environment for immediate relocatees and voluntary migrants in the medium to long-term period.

Opening the meeting, NEDA Regional Director and BP2 Vice-Chairperson Luis G. Banua emphasized that the purpose of the BP2 Program is to ensure balanced regional development and improve quality of life in the countryside. While CALABARZON has one of the lowest number of BP2 applicants across regions, Dir. Banua mentioned the need to plan ahead to prepare the receiving LGUs and allocate the needed resources for the program.

Representing DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año who is the region’s Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS), Undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III highlighted that the action planning activity is an important first step in implementing the BP2 Program. With the Action Plan, the region will be able to assess its capacities to accept new residents from highly-urbanized cities. Undersecretary Densing also underscored that the BP2 Program, unlike past programs, is envisioned to address the perennial problem on urban congestion and is meant to be a long-term and sustainable program. Thus, he called for the active involvement of all stakeholders to ensure the effective planning and implementation of the BP2 program.

Part of the program was a workshop on the preparation of BP2 Action Plan which yielded initial programs and projects under the program’s four key result areas on empowerment of local industries; food security and agricultural productivity; housing, social welfare, health, employment and human resource development; and infrastructure development.

The activity was well attended by 163 participants from national and regional line agencies, local government units and the private sector. The BP2 program was instutionalized through Executive Order No. 114, series of 2020 which mandated the creation of a national BP2 council and a special RDC Committee to coordinate and oversee the BP2 activities in the regions.

Donna Riza R. Mercado, NEDA Region IV-A | October 29, 2020