DAVAO CITY – The local government of Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first 200 families who will resettle in the said town, an official said Friday.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that while other local government units take a "wait-and-see" posture on the "Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program," (BPBPP) Kalawit Mayor Salvador Antojado Jr. is now ready to accept the arriving families.

The BPBPP which is pushed by Senator Christopher Lawrence Go and supported by President Rodrigo Duterte aims to decongest the urban centers by convincing informal city dwellers to go home to their provinces.

Under the BPBPP program, 22 departments and agencies of government will all contribute to ensure the sustainability of the "Balik Probinsya" program by providing support services and livelihood opportunities.

Piñol said that Kalawit, the newest town of Zamboanga del Norte is a 4th Class Municipality with a population of only 23,000 in a land area of 22,000 hectares.

“While other LGUs have reservations on allowing returning urban dwellers to resettle in their area, Mayor Antojado says the arrival of the "Balik Probinsya" participants could result in the development of his town,” he said.

He also emphasized that the mayor expects new roads to be constructed, additional school buildings, communications facilities, health centers and other vital government support services.

“Antojado is a former Marines officer who saw action in many conflicts in Mindanao, said his town still has vast areas which could be developed. Right after his assumption to office as Mayor, the battle-hardened former Marines officer cleared the town of Communist insurgents thus opening vast agricultural areas,” Piñol stressed.

He said that alongside the development of his town's agricultural potentials, he also sees the transformation of the sleepy town into a farm tourism destination because of its natural beauty.

Kalawit is one of the two towns of Zamboanga del Norte identified as destinations for returning urban informal dwellers who originally came from the province.

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