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POST-COVID-19 PLAN

Senator pushes Balik Probinsya program to decongest Metro Manila


Decongesting Metro Manila should be part of the post-coronavirus disease 2019 normalization efforts, through a Balik Probinsya program, Senator Cristopher "Bong" Go said Thursday.

"Ilipat natin ang mga tao sa tamang panahon o kapag sinabi na ng ating health experts na safe na. Pero ngayon palang, paghandaan na natin ito dahil kung hahayaan lang natin na patuloy na magsikip ang mga tao sa Kamaynilaan, mas mataas ang tyansa na manumbalik na naman ang pagkalat ng virus," said Go, chairman of the Senate committee on health, in a statement.

He said incentives and livelihood opportunities should be provided to Filipinos who will agree to relocate to the provinces, stressing that this is a long-term solution to prevent other future outbreaks.

"Ngayon, mas nararamdaman natin ang matagal nang pinupunto ng Pangulo na kailangan talaga i-develop ang iba pang probinsiya para mabawasan ang tao sa Metro Manila. Masyadong masikip dito, mabilis kumalat ang sakit."

Moreover, Go said that with reduced population density, the local government units in Metro Manila would be able to respond better to health crises.

At the same time, additional resources will have to be equitably distributed to other regions, he added.

"Ihanda natin ang mga probinsiya kapag lumipat na ang mga tao doon. Dapat masigurado na may kapasidad ang mga probinsya na maalagaan sila at mabigyan ng matitirahan, makakain, at ikabubuhay," Go said.

The senator also promised to find ways to convince more members of the private sector to invest in rural development.

"Hahanapan natin ng paraan upang ganahan ang mga negosyanteng mag-invest o mag-expand sa mga probinsya para naroon na rin ang trabaho at hindi na kailangan ng mga Pilipino doon na magpunta pa sa Metro Manila at lumayo sa kanilang mga pamilya," he said.

According to DOH's online tracker, 4,591 out of the total 6,710 COVID-19 cases in the country are in Metro Manila. In the region alone, there are 298 deaths and 456 recoveries. —Dona Magsino/LBG, GMA News