The Central Luzon Regional Development Council (RDC III) – Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Special Committee convened its organizational meeting on 21 October 2020.  Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process for Operations (0PAPP) who serves as Chairperson of the committee, opened the meeting via a recorded message delivered by OPAPP Undersecretary Isidro L. Purisima. He mentioned that the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program is a timely initiative for the following reasons: i) it will decongest some of the most populated areas in Metro Manila; ii) it will jumpstart economic activity in the countryside through access to jobs and capacity development; and, iii) it sends a strong message to the people that the government deeply cares for them.       

NEDA 3 OIC-Regional Director Agustin C. Mendoza, Vice-Chairperson of the RDC III – BP2 Special Committee presided the organizational meeting. The agenda included i) an Overview of the Implementing Guidelines of EO 114; ii) Investment Program for the four (4) Key Result Areas (KRAs) of the program; iii) Regional Communication Strategy Plan; and, iv) Formulation of a Settlements Development Model for New Growth Areas in the Philippines – Model Structure, Results and Application in Planning shared by Dr. Carmeli Marie Chaves of the UP Planning and Development Research Foundation (UP PLANADES).

The committee approved the adoption of an Institutional Mechanism and Work Program for the committee, and the Organizational Structure of the BP2 Communication Group.  Part of the approved Work Program is the immediate formulation of the BP2 Action Plan which will be presented to the RDC Full Council III for endorsement in December 2020.

Bulacan Governor Fernando stressed the importance of a stringent selection process of qualified beneficiaries. He shared his observations that there are recipients of similar resettlement housing projects that returned to Metro Manila. Director Mendoza agreed that such cases would be a major challenge for Central Luzon owing to its proximity to the National Capital Region. He said that part of the Action Plan is an effective tracking system of approved beneficiaries.

The virtual meeting was attended by 16 members among which included Pampanga Governor Dennis G. Pineda, agency representatives and RDC III private sector representatives.