Barangays can facilitate registration of 'Balik Probinsya' applicants: official

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 04 2020 12:14 PM

Children get their temperature checked and hands sanitized before boarding the bus bound for Leyte during the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa” program ceremonial roll out held at the NHA compound in Quezon City, May 20, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Barangays in Metro Manila can facilitate applications for the government's "Balik Probinsya" program for those who cannot register online, an official said Thursday.

Printed forms for registration to the program are available in barangay halls in the National Capital Region, according to National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr., who is also the executive director of the 'Balik Probinsya' program.

"May mga forms tayo na (there are forms) available at the barangay levels right now so they can enroll manually," Escalada said in a virtual press briefing.

Manual registration is expected to generate some 10,000 more applicants, he said. Some 79,000 people in Metro Manila have already signed up for the program online.

The program started last May 20 with some 100 Filipinos transported to Leyte.

A pet project of Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, the Balik Probinsya program was adopted by President Rodrigo Duterte as a national program in the hopes that it would promote robust development in the countryside and decongest Metro Manila.

The program has been criticized for lack of coordination with local government units that would receive the returning individuals in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One beneficiary of the program had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government had said LGUs should be given enough time, at least 3 days, to prepare for the arrivals of individuals in the provinces.