First batch of Balik Probinsya beneficiaries arrive in Leyte

OVER 100 individuals who availed themselves of the government’s Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-Asa program arrived in Leyte on Thursday night, May 21.

The returning residents are from the towns of Kananga, Matag-ob, Alangalang, Tanauan, Hilongos, Bato, Burauen, Dagami, Julita, Tabobtabon, Palo, Tolosa, Isabel, Palompon, Tabango, Villaba, Abuyog, Javier, MacArthur, Calubia, San Isidro, Albuera, Merida, Tunga, Dulag, Mayorga, Carigara, Jaro, Babatngon, Barugo, Capoocan, Matalom, and Baybay City.

In a Laging Handa virtual briefing on Friday, May 22, Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla said the returning residents were tested upon arrival for the novel coronavirus, or Sars-CoV-2, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“So ang ginawa muna sa kanila, pinababa, nag-disinfect, tapos may mga interviews na ginawa, pagkatapos ng interview, nag-swabbing para sa PCR test. And then at the same time habang ginagawa iyong process na iyon, disinfect din natin iyong mga bagahe nila na naiwan sa bus,” Petilla said.

“Tapos after nila sa lahat na iyan, may mga sundo sila galing sa mga munisipyo nila, after sa swabbing, pinasakay na namin para makauwi na sila doon sa kanilang mga munsisipyo. So maayos naman overall ang pagdating, so far,” he added.

Petilla said the local government officials of Leyte are developing livelihood opportunities for the returnees.

"Take note na ever since Yolanda, we have been developing ang ekonomiya ng ating mga komunidad lalo na ng mga conflict areas. Basically, ang tina-target namin dito ay iyong farther development, increase productivity sa ating agriculture at saka iyong ating mga former rebels kasi mga farmers na ngayon," he said.

“Ang strategy natin is to increase ang ating income, it’s to further increase ang disposable income ng mga Leyteños ‘no through Build, Build, Build and agriculture,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 114 that institutionalized the Balik Probinsya program, which seeks to provide social services and livelihood opportunities to encourage the people to return to their hometowns from highly urbanized cities and contribute in countryside development.

Under the program, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority must provide support for beneficiaries who will be given technical support and training. (SunStar Philippines)


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