10,000 apply for Balik Probinsya program

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - May 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — At least 10,000 individuals have applied for relocation under the government’s Balik Probinsya program.

In an interview over dzBB yesterday, Marcelino Escalada Jr., National Housing Authority (NHA) general manager and Balik Probinsya program executive director, said the number of applicants increased by 10 to 12 percent since the online application was launched last week.

Escalada said they expect more applicants in the next six months.

The government expects around one million residents of Metro Manila to avail themselves of the program.

Escalada said about 80 percent of the applicants are college graduates and work in food and beverage and related services.

He said Leyte is the most preferred province, with 1,000 applicants.

Samar, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Camarines Sur and Pangasinan are the other top choices.

Escalada gave assurance that qualified applicants would be provided jobs, noting that there are around 400 economic zones across the country.

He said 1.5 million jobs would be provided under the Balik Probinsya program.

“We will pinpoint their specific interests. We will match those interests,” Escalada said.

He said qualified beneficiaries would be issued identification cards to ensure that they will be given priority in livelihood projects of the Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Public Works and Highways.

To ensure that the beneficiaries will remain in the provinces, teams from the NHA would regularly check on their situation.

Escalada said the NHA would coordinate with the Commission on Elections for the registration of the beneficiaries in the area where they are relocated.

President Duterte issued Executive Order 114 institutionalizing the Balik Probinsya program to decongest Metro Manila amid the coronavirus disease 2019 and balance regional development.

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