The Regional Development Council (RDC) IX created the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Special Committee through Resolution No. 049, series of 2020, during its meeting on June 18, 2020. On 25 September 2020, DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for Region IX, formally convened the BP2 Special Committee via zoom teleconferencing.

Chairperson of BP2 Committee Sec. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista of DSWD and CORDS 9 (left) and USec. Rene Glen O Paje.

In attendance were the RDC IX Chairperson and Governor of Zamboanga del Sur, Victor J. Yu;  the municipal mayor of the pilot area of Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte, Salvador P. Antojado Jr.; Chairperson of Mindanao Development Authority, Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol;  and Undersecretary Rene Glen O. Paje of  DSWD. Also in attendance were the chairperson of the RDC IX Regional Social Development Committee IX, a representative from Zamboanga del Norte, and heads and representatives of 22 regional line agencies.

In his opening message, Secretary Bautista mentioned that the COVID 19 magnified the need for equitable progress across regions and inclusive growth in both rural and urban areas. He hoped that the program would pave the way for increasing the chances of more Filipinos to build prosperous lives outside congested cities like those in the National Capital Region. He also mentioned that he would act as a coach and guide for the attainment of this objective in the region.

MinDA Secretary Piñol enthused over developments in the implementation of the BP² Program in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, and Kalawit municipality in Zamboanga del Norte. He expressed optimism over the success of the program in other areas in Mindanao. Gov. Yu mentioned the common problem of people seeking opportunities in capital cities, even in other countries. He said that these opportunities must be brought into the provinces so that the people would be encouraged stay in their respective areas. To ensure the success of the program, a long term plan must be formulated.

The following were discussed:

  1. The roles and functions of the Committee and its members, and other salient points in the creation of the Committee, as approved by RDC IX on June 18, 2020, presented by Ms. Susan C. Valerio, OIC-ARD of NEDA IX.
  2. The BP2 Program-Mindanao Updates, particularly on the pilot areas of Kalawit and Kauswagan, presented by Sec. Pinol.
  3. Status of the BP2 Program in Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte presented by Mr. Joey Q. Bernad, Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Administrator and Program Manager of BP2 Zamboanga del Norte, and Kalawit Mayor Salvador P. Antojado, Jr.
  4. Status of the BP2 Program in Zamboanga del Sur presented by Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator, Ms. Meriline Locson.
  5. The BP2 Action Plan Outline and the BP2 Committee work program were presented by NEDA IX staffs, Mr. Arthur N. de Guzman and Ms. Eleanor M. Reyes, respectively.

The next steps for the remaining months of 2020 include the conduct of a workshop for the BP2 Action Plan Formulation (4th week of October), 1st Regular BP2 Special Committee Meeting (3rd week of November) and presentation of BP2 Action Plan for approval/endorsement by RDC IX (3rd December). In his closing message, Secretary Bautista stressed the need to apply the whole-of-nation approach in the implementation of the program. (Ric Luke B. Garcia, NEDA IX)

Some participants to the BP2 Organizational Meeting.