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    Sen. Bong Go proposes “Balik Probinsya” program in new normal

    MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher "Bong” Go said that the whole government should learn from the experiences encountered during the COVID-19 crisis in order to provide long-term solutions that would put a stop to the current public health emergency and avoid the further spread of such diseases in the future.

    Sen. Bong Go proposes “Balik Probinsya” program in new normal
    Photo Credit: Facebook/ Senator Bong Go

    “Habang patuloy nating nilalabanan ang COVID-19, paghandaan na natin sa ngayon pa lang ang ‘new normal’. I-tama na natin ang mga mali para hindi na maulit ang mga problema at maging mas handa tayo sa anumang krisis,” Go said.

    He reiterated his appeal for the government to prepare for the implementation of a “Balik Probinsya” program at the right time, as determined by health experts, when the spread of COVID-19 is already under control or when “we have already flattened the curve.”

    “Nananawagan ako sa pamahalaan na mag-umpisa nang maglatag ng programang ‘Balik Probinsya’ at iba pang mga hakbang na magbibigay insentibo sa ating mga kababayan na lumipat na ulit sa kanilang mga probinsya,” he explained.

    “Kami po ni Pangulong Duterte ay probinsiyano rin. Taga-Davao po kami. Doon po kami lumaki at, tulad ng ibang mga probinsyano, doon rin namin nais bumalik pagkatapos ng aming pagseserbisyo sa bayan,” he added.

    The Senator said that this move will mitigate and resolve long-standing issues in urban areas especially Metro Manila that accelerate the spread of diseases due to highly dense communities resulting to faster rate of transmission, poor sanitation, overburdened health care facilities, and inefficiencies in the delivery of services.

    “Malaking factor po sa mabilis na pagkalat ng COVID-19 sa Metro Manila ay ang congestion o overcrowding dito. Ginagawa natin ang lahat para malampasan natin itong krisis ngunit number one na problema talaga natin sa implementasyon ng ating mga assistance programs ay ang congestion sa Metro Manila,” Go said.

    “Maraming tao rito kaya naman mabilis kumalat ang virus, mas mahirap alagaan ang mga komunidad, at mas mahirap i-manage ang ating resources na maaaring magamit ng ating local government units,” he added.

    With the proposed “Balik Probinsya” program, the Senator noted that the government can facilitate the decongestion of the metropolis, which will eventually help solve perennial issues of overpopulation, heavy traffic, pollution, as well as in preparing for future possible disease outbreaks, other crises and natural disasters.

    The Senator also cited that the proposal will reunite families that have been separated for a long time due to jobs that require employees to relocate to business districts. According to Go, bringing families back together in one location can make it easier for the government to implement social amelioration programs considering family units will be located in the same local jurisdictions.

    “Tulad po ng mga nangyayari ngayon, napakahirap mag-abot ng tulong dahil ‘yung mga beneficiaries po ng social amelioration program... minsan ay may nakakatanggap sa probinsya na pamilya pero ‘yung mga asawa o isang miyembro ay hindi nakakatanggap dito (sa Maynila) dahil magkahiwalay sila (ng lokasyon),” he explained.

    “Kawawa rin ‘yung mga tulad ng construction workers na hindi makapiling ang pamilya nila. Dahil kinailangan nilang magtrabaho sa Maynila, hindi na sila makauwi sa probinsya dahil naabutan ng lockdown,” he added emphasizing the hardships being experienced by workers who are forced to be located far from their loved ones.

    According to Go, once this proposal becomes a national priority, its implementation will result to a more efficient delivery of public goods and services that can benefit all regions and would also lead to equitable development all throughout the country.

    “Marami na tayong natututunan sa krisis na ito, tulad ng hirap na dulot ng pagkakumpol kumpol ng tao sa mga siyudad. Simulan na nating paghandaan at tuluyan na nating aksyunan ang isyu na ito at huwag nang intayin na mas lumala pa ang problema,” he stressed.

    As soon as the enhanced community quarantine is lifted and travel is gradually normalized, Go said that the government must be ready to provide the public with the means and incentives to go back to the provinces for good.

    — The Summit Express

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