(Agri-Industrial Complex Model courtesy of Joey Recimilla, City Tourism Officer, Kidapawan)

DAVAO CITY – Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol confirmed on Friday that three towns in Mindanao vowed to join the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa” Program (BPBPP) of the government.

In a Facebook post, he said that Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, Malaybalay, Bukidnon and M'lang, North Cotabato committed to adopt the program.

After Zamboanga del Norte, the province of Lanao del Norte became the second province in Mindanao to have accepted the challenge to establish a model Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Rural Resettlement Project with the town of Kauswagan as the pilot area.

Piñol said that Mayor Arnado, an advocate of organic farming, said the town is ready to accept the first 200 families who would like to come home to Kauswagan or Lanao del Norte.

"They will be in a five-hectare housing-with-livelihood activity in Barangay Kudaran," Piñol stressed.

The municipal government has already committed gardening equipment like small tractors and tools which were recently procured for the first Balik Probinsya beneficiaries of Lanao del Norte.

On the other hand, he added that an initially skeptical Bukidnon Governor Jose Zubiri has expressed his full support to the said program which is an initiative of Senator Christopher Lawrence Go.

Piñol said that he got the nod of Zubiri after he was assured of a whole-of-nation approach in the implementation of the program.

“When he was briefed that the BPBPP which has been institutionalized with the signing of an Executive Order by President Rody Duterte has the full support of 22 departments and agencies of government, Gov. Zubiri was convinced and even volunteered to provide a counterpart for the housing project,” he said.

He added that Zubiri proposed a community of 200 families to be trained in vegetable farming and strawberry growing and will be relocated in the vegetable production area of the province.

“North Cotabato Governor Nancy A. Catamco has also pledged to provide a land area and support services for the implementation of the BPBPP which would bring home residents of North Cotabato who are now considered as informal settlers in the big cities,” he added.

Gov. Catamco, on the other hand, intends to utilize the provincial agro-industrial park in the town of M'lang for the growing of organic native chicken with a complete value chain, Piñol said.

"The area is near the M'lang Airport and the processing facilities so we could ensure the complete value chain process from production, processing to marketing," she said.

He added that the participation of Bukidnon and North Cotabato brings to four the total of Mindanao Provinces which will participate in the Balik Probinsya Program.

“Next week, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) planning and technical staff will start engaging the four LGUs to lay the groundwork for the implementation of the project,” he said.

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