Albay earmarks P5 M for ‘Balik Probinsiya’

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Albay provincial government has set aside a P5 million fund to finance expenses to be used for the “Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa,” a program aimed to fetch thousands of local residents stranded in Metro Manila following the easing of the quarantine restrictions there.

Albay Vice Gov. Grex Edcel Lagman, in a an interview on Monday, June 2, said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on May 29 passed Supplemental Budget No. 3 allocating P5 million fund for the “Albay Libreng Sakay-Balik Probinsiya” program.

Lagman said the resolution authorized Gov. Al Francis Bichara to spend the amount to bring back some 2,000 Albay residents stranded in Metro Manila after the area was placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) by the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Lagman said the fund allocation was pursuant to the request of Bichara based on Executive Order No. 20 issued on May 27, which directed the creation of a provincial task force on Balik Probinsiya (BP).

He said “this program should not be confused with the BP introduced by the administration because the national program is more comprehensive and all encompassing.”

According to Lagman, a former Albay representative, “the BP can only be implemented when all forms of community quarantine in the country have been lifted, while our’s is not holistic and considered only as a component of the national BP designed to pick up stranded Albayanos in Metro Manila.”

The BP Libreng Sakay Hatid Program would be implemented on Friday, June 5. The P 5 million would be used to hire 10 passenger buses to pick up the thousands of locally stranded individuals in Metro Manila with two trips per week at the designated pick-up points at the Araneta Center, in Cubao, Baclaran Church in Paranaque and Turbina in Sto Tomas, Batangas.