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(Photo courtesy of Provincial Infomation Center - Zamboanga del Norte Facebook Page)

DAVAO CITY – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) confirmed on Wednesday, that the Province of Zamboanga del Norte has agreed to establish the first Rural Resettlement Model for informal urban dwellers who would like to join the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa” Program (BPBPP) pushed by Senator Christopher Lawrence Go and backed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a Facebook post, Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Governor Roberto Uy eagerly volunteered his province to host the model BPBPP Rural Resettlement Community after MinDA presented the concept to during a meeting at the Provincial Capitol in Dipolog City, on Tuesday.

“During the meeting Governor Uy said the program could support his vision to lift the province from the ignominious club of the poorest provinces in the country. He will also provide an area at least 50 hectares for the BPBPP Rural Resettlement Model good for 200 returning Zambo Norte families who are now among the informal urban dwellers in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu,” he said.

Piñol said that Governor Uy also agreed that the first BPBPP Rural Resettlement Model will be focused on one common activity, preferably agriculture or fisheries based.

“We will follow the recommendation of the MinDA that the community should be involved in a common activity with a complete value chain to ensure that the Balik Probinsya families will earn and stay home for good and contribute to our province’s goal of reducing poverty,” Governor Uy said.

The land area along with support funds to start a livelihood project will be the provincial government’s initial counterpart in the establishment of the Balik Probinsya Rural Resettlement.

Uy said after the first model is established, the provincial government will replicate it in other areas of the province with a land area of over 700,000 hectares.

Piñol said that after Zamboanga del Norte, he will proceed to Lanao del Norte to present the program to Governor Imelda Q. Dimaporo and Kauswagan town Mayor Rommel Arnado.

“On Thursday (May 7), I will meet with Bukidnon Governor Jose Zubiri to propose the establishment of a vegetable and strawberry production-based Balik Probinsya Rural Resettlement Community in his province,” he said.

Piñol said the Zamboanga del Norte Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Model Rural Resettlement Community concept will be presented during the next online conference of the BPBPP Inter-Agency Task Force presided by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“Under the Balik Probinsya concept, it was agreed that that implementation of the BPBPP will be a “Whole-of-Nation Approach” where each agency is expected to contribute to its success,” he added.

The BPBPP as conceptualized by Senator Go aims at decongesting the urban centers by convincing informal urban dwellers and even the highly-skilled migrant workers from the rural areas to return to their home provinces.

The “returnees” will be given initial financial support, housing, and training to prepare them for income-earning opportunities, including support services such as roads leading to the resettlement areas, irrigation, and market linkages.

MinDA designed several models of the Rural Resettlement Communities under the BPBPP to include communal activities such as poultry raising, hog raising, goat raising and dairy production, vegetable production, tree farming and fruit production, cattle fattening, fish cage farming and even commercial fishing operations.

Another model designed by MinDA involves the establishment of processing facilities by private partners which will utilize provincial workers and local raw materials produced by both local farmers and Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa participants.

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