“Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa” Program

According to the 2015 Census of Population, Metro Manila is the most densely populated region in the Philippines, with a density of 20,875 persons per square kilometer. Many of these are informal settlers who do not have access to adequate living conditions, not to mention regular sources of income. Hence, there is a need to “decongest” Metro Manila — and other urban areas, for that matter.

For this reason, the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa” or simply “Balik Probinsya” program was created by the Philippine government. Implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other agencies, this program literally means “Return to the Province, New Hope.” Keep on reading to learn more about this program and its services!

DSWD Balik Probinsya Program
Image Credit: Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program / Facebook

What is Balik Probinsya?

“Balik Probinsya” is a program that aims to boost countryside development and provide a better future for Filipinos by encouraging Metro Manila’s urban poor to return to their home province. It provides support and incentives on transportation, housing, livelihood, subsistence, and education, to assist beneficiaries during their transition to the province.

In other words, the Balik Probinsya program enables the urban poor to relocate voluntarily and start anew. At the same time, urban areas like Metro Manila would not be too congested.

The program was enacted through Executive Order No. 114, Series 2020, which is titled, “Institutionalizing the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program as a Pillar of Balanced Regional Development, Creating a Council Therefore, and for Other Purposes.”

Objectives of the Program

Generally, the Balik Probinsya program seeks to provide comprehensive services to individuals and families who will return to their provinces. Funding support to assist local government units (LGU) in improving access to basic services will also be provided.

Specifically, the program aims to:

  • Provide holistic interventions for beneficiaries to achieve full integration into communities in the provinces;
  • Provide support for the beneficiaries’ economic stability and development;
  • Provide community grants for projects that ensure access to basic services;
  • Conduct local participatory process to promote participation, transparency, and accountability in all phases of implementation; and
  • Enhance family and community resilience to natural and man-made disasters and health emergencies.

Focus of the Program

The Balik Probinsya program focuses on four key areas, as follows:

  • Empowerment of local industries;
  • Food security and agricultural productivity;
  • Development of infrastructure; and
  • Social welfare, health, and employment.

Target Beneficiaries

As mentioned earlier, the target beneficiaries of the program are low-income families who have decided to move out of Metro Manila and other urbanized cities, and relocate to their hometowns or other provinces due to (but not limited to) these circumstances:

  • The family decided to resettle to the identified rural province;
  • Loss of a job or other source of income;
  • Unsafe dwelling places (e.g. living on the streets, under the bridge, etc.); or
  • Exposure to health and safety risks and other environmental hazards (e.g. pandemic, natural disasters, etc.)

Types of Assistance

The Balik Probinsya program provides assistance to individuals, families, and communities.

1. Assistance to Individuals

For individuals, the program may provide assistance in the form of (or combination of) any of the following:

  • Transportation Assistance. PHP 3,000 to PHP 5,000 or actual transportation cost and limited food assistance while in transit through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS).
  • Livelihood Assistance. Maximum of PHP 15,000 following the implementation process for individual referrals and walk-in clients, as stipulated in the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), provided that beneficiaries are not eligible to receive livelihood support from other agencies like the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

2. Assistance to Families

The assistance to be given per family will depend on the assessment of DSWD social workers, in coordination with local social welfare offices and staff from DSWD Field Offices.

  • Transportation/Relocation Assistance. PHP 3,000 to PHP 35,000 for family beneficiaries to move their properties and belongings from their current residence to where they will relocate.
  • Transitory Family Support Package. PHP 10,000 to PHP 70,000 to cover food and non-food items needed by the family during their transition.
  • Transitory Shelter Assistance. Rental subsidy amounting to PHP 120,000 to PHP 250,000 per year, for up to to years, while waiting for National Housing Authority (NHA) housing to be constructed or awarded.
  • Livelihood Settlement Grant. Maximum of PHP 50,000 as start-up capital for the establishment or continuation of livelihood and economic activities for families that cannot be covered by support from other government agencies.
  • Psychosocial Support. Dialogues and specialized sessions for the family, to prepare them for reintegration into their hometowns.

3. Assistance to Communities

This type of assistance comes in the form of community grants, which will assist LGUs in projects needed to develop or rehabilitate resettlement areas. The package includes:

  • Municipal Grant Allocation for basic services up to PHP 7.5 million;
  • Social Preparation Activities worth up to PHP 500,000 per municipality; and
  • Capacity Building Intervention for volunteers and Barangay/Municipal LGUs amounting to PHP 300,000 per municipality.

NOTE: Once again, community projects and grants will depend on the DSWD, through the participatory situational analysis of the community where the families will be relocated.

Latest Updates

Based on a DSWD report, between 2020 and 2022, more than 1,800 families have benefited from the Balik Probinsya program, with packages amounting to over PHP 104 million. Correspondingly, over PHP 114 million was utilized for community grants in order to fund community sub-projects.

To this day, the DSWD continues to carry out the Balik Probinsya program, which is open to all eligible Filipinos who would like to relocate and start anew in the provinces.

Video: Balik Probinsya Benefits People in Region XIII

To learn more about Balik Probinsya, watch this video about how the program has changed the lives of beneficiaries who had relocated to the Dinagat Islands in Region XIII:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meanwhile, here are some commonly asked questions about the Balik Probinsya program:

1. What is Balik Probinsya?

“Balil Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa” or simply “Balik Probinsya” is a program that encourages the urban poor to return their home province, thus improving their lives as well as enhancing countryside development.

2. What are its objectives?

Balik Probinsya’s main is to provide comprehensive services to individuals and families who will return to their provinces, while also assisting LGUS in improving access to basic services.

3. What is the focus of the program?

The program focuses on four key areas: empowerment of local industries; food security and agricultural productivity; development of infrastructure; and social welfare, health, and employment.

4. Who are its target beneficiaries?

The target beneficiaries of Balik Probinsya are low-income families who have decided to move out of Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities.

5. What are the types of assistance offered?

The program offers assistance packages to individuals, families, and communities.

Contact Information: DSWD Central Office

If you have any questions or concerns about the Balik Probinsya program, you can address your queries to the DSWD Central Office. Its address, contact details, and location map are given below:

Address: Batasang Pambansa Complex, Constitution Hills, Quezon City, Philippines, 1126
Telephone: (02) 8952-0697 or (02) 8931-8101, local 513
Email: balikprobinsya@dswd.gov.ph
Website: https://www.dswd.gov.ph/

Google Map:

Final Thoughts

One of the great things about the Balik Probinsya program is how it strives for “balance” in the development of both rural and urban areas. Thanks to this program, its beneficiaries can look forward to having “Bagong Pag-Asa” (new hope) and a bright future, indeed!

Another noteworthy program of the DSWD is the “Lingap at Gabay Para sa May Sakit” or simply “LinGAP sa MaSa” program. Check out this article to learn more about this initiative!