Ongoing construction work for a model resettlement area in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte under the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program.
(Screengrabbed from Kauswagan Information Office Facebook Page)

KIDAPAWAN CITY - An agricultural trading company based in Davao City that exports coconut and durian to China has offered to establish processing facilities in Lanao Del Norte and Zamboanga Del Norte to provide jobs to returning informal urban dwellers under the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program of the Duterte Administration.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that Seng Food Products President John Tan intends to open up processing facilities for young coconuts to be exported to China and bottling facilities for Spanish Sardines in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The company will also build a fish drying and dehydrating facility, and a glass bottle manufacturing plant, to supply the bottle needs of the growing Spanish Sardines industry of the Zamboanga Peninsula," Piñol.

The company, along with several other food processing companies, is looking for an area in Northern Mindanao where they could establish an Export Processing Zone using products from Mindanao, especially those produced in the BP2 communities.

Aside from Seng Food Products, another private corporation, the GNPK Power Corporation, has provided support to the establishment of the BP2 Program Resettlement Village in Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte, by donating the area for the village which is paid for in the amount of PHP6 million.

"Kauswagan Mayor Rommel Arnado said GNPK volunteered to pay for the land as its contribution to the program being pushed by Senator Christopher Lawrence Go and supported by President Rody Duterte," he said. The BP2 Program is an initiative by the Duterte administration to shift the focus of development in the countryside by creating job opportunities in the provinces while decongesting the urban centers with informal settlers.

MinDA, which coordinates the implementation of the BP2 Program in Mindanao, has identified three pilot areas for the project.

The first group of returnees is expected to arrive in Zamboanga Del Norte on June 17.

"They will be kept in a quarantine facility for 15 days during which they will also be trained by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)," Piñol said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide subsistence support. At the same time, the National Housing Authority (NHA) will establish housing units which the beneficiaries will pay on a long-term payment program. 

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