Koronadal City, South Cotabato – The Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program embodied in Executive Order 114 was signed into law on 06 May 2020, purposely to ensure equitable distribution of wealth by institutionalizing balanced development and boosting countryside growth.

During the 5th meeting of the SOCCSKSARGEN BP2 Special Committee on August 27, 2021, the Committee passed Resolution No. 09, series of 2021, endorsing the Bi-Annual Report covering the period January to June 2021. The committee is chaired by Secretary Isidro S. Lapeňa of TESDA who is also the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for SOCCSKSARGEN Region.

Ms. Eden F. Ridao, RDC XII Secretariat reported the significant accomplishments and other BP2-related activities conducted by the Special BP2 Committee XII based on the region’s BP2 Action Plan approved in December 2020.

Although the region is not yet a priority area for for BP2 programs, the report contained accomplishments that were aligned with the BP2 four key result areas, namely: i) empowerment of local industries; ii) food security and agricultural productivity; iii) housing, social welfare, health, employment and human resource development; and, iv) infrastructure development.

Highlights of the accomplishments include support to local industries empowerment by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) XII in the amount of PhP 3.7 Million for eight Shared Service Facility (SSF) projects composed of machinery, equipment and tools under a shared system which the beneficiaries (MSMEs) can use to increase productivity and improve product competitiveness and marketability. This was complemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) XII’s Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines (i-FWD PH) program with funding support of PhP 2.1 Million for the establishment of technology-based enterprises.

The Department of Agriculture XII developed mechanisms such as the Terms of Reference for enterprise development, modules for BP beneficiaries using the Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA) tools, and coordination for the harmonization of project location.

For housing projects, the National Housing Authority is still in the process of verifying the BP2 enrollees while the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development processed and issued Certificate of Registration and License to Sell for socialized and economic housing projects in General Santos City, Kidapawan City and Tantangan, South Cotabato.

Other BP2 programs accomplished were scholarships, special trainings for employment program, Project I-PEACE and the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, among others.

The BP2 Special Committee XII is working for the inclusion of the region among the pilot areas of the Program for CY 2021. As of August 26, 2021, Region XII had a total of 2,517 BP2 enrollees.

The Chairperson reminded everyone that the success of BP2 programs depends on the cooperation of the various stakeholders in the region. (Evie Arabis Cabulanan, NEDA XII-DRD)