An official of the Archdiocese of Manila said the government and the private sector must invest big-time in provinces for the “Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-asa Program”.
“The government and businesses should pour massive investment in rural areas so that they get adequate human services and jobs in the provinces. People come to the cities because they have no livelihood in the provinces. But this is not enough,” Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila, said in a statement.
Pabillo said there are a lot of things that need to be addressed in rural areas.
“There are still areas without electricity. What basic service can they get without electricity? Many areas have no health clinics, and if they happen to have, they are just empty buildings because there are no healthcare workers – no doctors and nurses, and poorly trained and supervised barangay healthcare workers,” he added.
He also called for the improvement of infrastructure such as roads in rural areas.
“Many rural roads are impassable during rainy seasons and dusty on dry seasons. Because of the bad roads, the transport system is unreliable and expensive. In a word, the development plan – and the budget – should all be aligned to give importance to the rural areas in order to develop the agricultural and fishery sectors of our society,” he added.
Pabillo also hopes that the coronavirus disease 2019 crisis would be a wake-up call for the government and the private sector to look after the people in rural areas.
“I hope the coronavirus should be a wake-up call for the government and business to pay attention to our farmers and fisherfolks. They are essential to our economy and to our survival, he said.
Incidentally, May 15, is the feast day of San Isidro Labrador, the patron of farmers.