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by Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol

Chairman, MinDA

Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte - The second model village of the Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program in Mindanao is now rising in the former territory of rebels and bandits in Kalawit, Zamvboanga del Norte.

The start of the construction comes less than a year after Kalawit, one of the newest towns of the province, was identified as the second location for the BPBP Model Village and the needed groundwork was completed.

The first BPBP Village was established in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte where the construction of 200 housing units is ongoing and would be ready for occupancy before the end of this year.

The Kalawit BPBP Model Village is being established in a former Pagkain ng Bayan production area which was abandoned years ago because of the presence of armed bandits.

Mayor Salvador Antojado, a retired officer of the Philippine Marines who saw action in the area before deciding to stay and run for the top political post of the town, cleared the area of rebels.

When MinDA asked Zamboanga del Norte Gov. Alberto Uy to identify a proposed area for the Balik Probinsya Model Village, he volunteered Kalawit.

The Kalawit Model BPBP Village is located in a 200-hectare area which will accomodate 200 families who are returning to Zamboanga del Norte from Metro Manila.

While the Kauswagan BPBP Village residents will be involved in poultry raising and vegetable production because of the smaller area of 6-hectares, the Kalawit BPBP occupants will have a wider area for high value crops production.

Among the products identified to be introduced to the returning families is the planting of high value coconuts, especially the Sweet and Aromatic variety, for the high-end market and for export.

Senator Chistopher Lawrence Go, who initiated the BPBP Program, National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Marcelino Escalada and officials of other agencies involved in the project are expected to visit Kalawit soon for the launching of the BPBP Village.

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