President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday backed a proposal encouraging people to go back to their home provinces to decongest Metro Manila saying the government must give people hope.
During the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go proposed for the government to initiate the “Balik Probinsya” program to relocate people from the metropolis.
Responding to Senator Go’s proposal, President Duterte said, “Maganda ‘yan, Bong. Go home to the province. They have the means of going back there and there is a promise.”
“We have to provide the transportation. At ang sabihin natin if you go back ganito, ganito. What is really very important is we give them hope. It’s very important, ‘yung hope ng tao.”
The nation should learn from the current COVID-19 pandemic, Go said, noting that because of dense population, the coronavirus quickly spread in Metro Manila communities, making it hard for the local and national governments to respond.
“Marami na tayong natutunan sa krisis na ito tulad ng hirap sa dulot nang pagkumpol-kumpol ng tao sa mga siyudad. Simulan na nating paghandaan at tuluyan na nating aksyunan ang isyung ito at huwag nang antayin pa na mas lumala pa ang problema,” Go suggested.
“Kailangan magkaroon ang gobyerno ng long-term solutions upang matugunan ito.”
He proposed that as soon as the enhanced community quarantine is lifted and travel is gradually normalized, the government must encourage Filipino families to move out of Manila and other metropolitan areas.
The government must provide the means and incentives to entice people to go back to the provinces for good.
The local government units (LGUs) must also ensure that necessary quarantine measures and mass testing for COVID-19 are in place to prevent those possibly infected from spreading the disease.
At the same time, Go said the government must capacitate the provinces in hosting the returning population through the provision of shelter, food, and livelihood.
Creating a vibrant economic activity is paramount in encouraging people from urban areas to relocate to the provinces, according to Go.
“Kaya mahalagang magbigay din tayo ng mga insentibo sa mga negosyante o mga mamumuhunan,” he said. “Magtulungan tayo, magbayanihan po tayo para malampasan ang krisis na ito.” PND