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COVID-19 WATCH

Peace and order vital to ‘Balik Probinsya’ initiative

Agence France-Presse

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As the Philippines prepares for the “new normal” amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the peace and order situation has been an integral part especially under the enhanced community quarantine imposed in some parts of the country.

In this light, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Saturday emphasized that maintaining peace and order as well as enforcing the rule of law is important as various departments under the Executive branch prepare for the short-term and long-term implementation of the “Balik Probinsya” program.

In a statement, the senator said that the success of the program in the countryside lies on the peace and order situation and it is up to concerned government agencies to ensure it is done.

Go also urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government, local government units and law enforcers to implement necessary measures to ensure a stable and peaceful environment conducive for doing business in the provinces in order to promote economic development.

“Maintaining peace and order and providing security in communities lead to better quality of life, more economic opportunities and smoother business operations,” said Go, adding that the presence of criminal elements and lawlessness in some areas in the countryside is a major concern for businesses and families to relocate back to these provinces.

Citing his experience as long-time aide of President Rodrigo Duterte during their days in Davao City, Go stressed that genuine and sustainable progress can be achieved if peace and order concerns are addressed.

The senator also echoed the sentiments of DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año that a stable peace and order situation is crucial in the success of the proposed “Balik Probinsya” program.

To recall, Año mentioned that the government should promote peace and order in the provinces to entice investors under a post-community quarantine scenario as he encouraged LGUs to start thinking of ways on how to prepare for Balik Probinsya.

Previously, Go earnestly sought the implementation of a “Balik Probinsya” program to decongest Metro Manila and bring about economic prosperity in the countryside and on 6 May, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 114 institutionalizing the Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-asa Program and creating a council therefor.

He also emphasized that the need to develop the countryside should be consistent with the policy direction of Duterte in order to create robust economic activities and wealth generation outside Metro Manila or other urban centers.

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