DSWD: Need to review our own “Balik sa Probinsya Program”

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MANILA—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is set to review their own “Balik sa Probinsya Program” (BSP Program) in the light of the similar program proposed by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go, during the cabinet meeting on Thursday evening.

Sen. Bong Go presented his BSP program plan to the cabinet saying that it is high time for the government to look for sustainable measures to decongest major cities after the lifting of Covid-19 lockdown.  He said, he and President Rodrigo R. Duterte, both probinsyanos, would be glad to return to Davao City once their terms of service expire.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Joyce Niwane, head of the Policy and Plans Division during a TV-radio interview monitored by Sandigan News and Banat Pilipinas News, said the department has its own BSP Program that gives assistance to individuals in the cities who want to go back to their provinces.

She said, “This is a program of the department wherein indigent individuals or families could go to the DSWD office for help on their plan to go back to their provinces.  A social worker of the office will then make a case study of the requesting family and make a recommendation.  Once everything is done, which may be for a period of one day to one week, they can go back to the office to get their support.”

She further said the office will usually provide them with transportation allowance for the fare or arrange their transportation and link them to the local government unit where they will return.  “Kailangan din naming mag-link sa local government units kung saan sila pupunta para matutulongan sila,” Niwani said.   

Former DSWD Undersecretary Maria Fe Ancheta-Templa, in an internet chat with Sandigan News and Banat Pilipinas News said the so-called BSP Program is an antiquated component under the Crisis Intervention Program-Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS). 

“Sure that’s an old program…antique na yan, kaya lang hindi na-maximize ng poverty groups,” she said.  “Urban workers and indigenous people wishing to go home to their provinces can make use of the program,” Templa continued.  However, she admitted that the support of the DSWD under this program is limited to transportation.

Moreover, ASec. Niwane disclosed that their program may need a lot of improvements to make it compatible with the proposed plan of Senator Bong Go.  “Sana mayroon ding tulong na maibigay ang lokal na pamahalaan upang manatili na sila duon at hindi na bumalik sa malalaking lungsod,” she concluded.

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