DEPUTY Speaker LRay Villafuerte on Tuesday said the full backing of the country’s biggest business group that boasts of 35,000 enterprises nationwide for the proposed legislation fast-tracking President Duterte’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa program, should serve as a strong impetus for the Congress to pass this measure guaranteed to create a lot of jobs in the countryside and finally undo urban decongestion.
“The full support of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), which is the biggest umbrella group of businesses in the country, should serve as a strong impetus for both chambers of the Congress to put the proposed legislation fast-tracking Balik Probinsya among their top concerns this second legislative session,” Villafuerte said.
PCCI, which is the country’s largest business organization with a membership of 35,000 small, medium and large enterprises nationwide, has endorsed Villafuerte’s proposed legislation on township revitalization meant to finally decongest Metro Manila and create more jobs and livelihood opportunities in rural communities amid the seemingly drawn-out coronavirus pandemic.
Villafuerte has authored House Bill (HB) 6970 institutionalizing Balik Probinsya, while Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go has filed a counterpart measure—Senate Resolution (SR) 380—in the other chamber.
In a letter sent last month to President Duterte, PCCI pointed out that “with high population density becoming a major cause of the spread of the contagious COVID-19, we all the more must intensify the Balik Probinsya effort.”
Hence, “we cite the timeliness and are fully supportive of a bill filed in Congress by Deputy Speaker Villafuerte, which will provide the basis for ensuring the sustainability of this program,” said PCCI president Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico and former GMA-7 president-CEO Menardo Jimenez, who chairs PCCI’s Balik Probinsya program, in their letter to the President.
PCCI’s letter of support for both the Palace program and the legislative initiative of Villafuerte was sent to Mr. Duterte through Sen. Go, and a copy was furnished the deputy speaker for finance.
Villafuerte filed HB 6970 during the first regular session of the 18th Congress “to fast-track the implementation of President Duterte’s initiative to stop unbridled urban migration and create a lot of jobs plus livelihood and self-employment in the countryside in order to encourage people to stay put and work in their home provinces.”