Home>Lifestyle>People and Places>The Journey of Starting Over
People and Places

The Journey of Starting Over

Aquino Daguio
Aquino Daguio, a beneficiary of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program (BP2), expresses his gratitude to the program for helping his family start anew in their home province in Apayao.

He wanted to help his parents in providing for their family. This was the main reason why Aquino Daguio left his hometown in the province of Apayao in 1989 to look for a job in Manila.

Several years later, Aquino was able to build his own family and find a permanent job as a utility van express driver. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused lockdowns in Metro Manila in 2020, his livelihood was affected. Public transportation was halted, leaving Aquino helpless in providing the needs of his family.

While in quarantine with his wife, mother-in-law, and three children, their local government provided food assistance. They were also recipients of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

Aside from government assistance, Aquino’s eldest son, John, who already moved out from their home and has his own family, also helped them by providing for their basic necessities and his siblings’ educational needs as a delivery rider.

Aquino was grateful to receive assistance, but it was only enough to sustain them for a few months. Their family savings was also depleted which led them to sell some of their belongings in order to buy their daily needs and to pay for their debts.

“Ang hirap po noong nag lockdown na, tapos hindi na nagtatrabaho si Papa. Isang beses sa isang araw na lang po kami kumain” (It was difficult for us when my father was not able to work, we only ate once a day), shared his 16 year old daughter, Lizbeth.

While staying at home with his family, Aquino saw news about the government’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) on television. BP2 aims to help eligible returning families who are currently in the National Capital Region (NCR) to start over in their home provinces by providing them with better livelihood opportunities and adequate social services.

At first, he was not interested in the BP2, but after a few days of contemplation and discussion with his wife, Aquino asked John to search for more information about the program. When the process was explained to him by his son, he finally decided to avail of the program and permanently move back to his hometown in Apayao.

His wife, Liberty, supported his decision. She said, “Sinabi ko sa mga anak ko na makinig tayo sa tatay ninyo at sundin natin yung desisyon niya. Alam ko naman kasi pinag-isipan niya iyon ng mabuti kaya sinuportahan ko siya kahit hindi ako taga-roon” (I told our children to respect their father’s decision because I know that he gave it enough thought, and so I supported him even if I am not from Apayao).

With the help of John, Aquino applied online through the BP2 website and got a call from the DSWD Central Office regarding the schedule of his assessment. After the initial assessment and interview were conducted, the Daguio family was scheduled to be brought home through the assistance of the National Housing Authority (NHA), which is the main agency in-charge of the BP2 Program.

On October 13, 2021, the Daguio family arrived in Flora, Apayao. They were immediately transferred to a quarantine facility in compliance with the health protocols of the municipal government. Aquino decided to stay at his brother’s house in Flora since their family’s house in the municipality of Conner is prone to landslides.

The local government warmly accepted them and provided food relief assistance while they were in quarantine. After completing their quarantine period and testing negative in their COVID-19 swab results, Aquino and his family were finally reunited with their relatives on October 26, 2021.

During the same week, Mr. Christopher Dao-ayen, focal person of the BP2 Program of the DSWD Field Office (FO) Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), granted the Daguio family transitory package assistance worth P65,000. The assistance was given to them through a simple ceremony that was witnessed by representatives of partner agencies and staff of the Municipality of Flora. The financial assistance will help cover the family’s basic needs, such as food, rental, and medication in the first three months of their transition from NCR to their hometown. Other assistance, such as housing and livelihood, are also being prepared by other partner agencies as a result of the conducted needs assessment on the family.

“Hindi ko po talaga alam kung paano magsisimula ulit na ang laki-laki na po ng utang ko. Kaya sobrang laki po ng aking pasasalamat sa programang ito kasi kung wala ito hindi ko na po talaga alam ang gagawin ko. Lalo na pag nakikita ko po ung anak kong two years old, naaawa po ako sa kanya kasi wala akong maipambili ng gatas.” (With all the debts that we have, I did not know how we could start our lives again. This is why I am grateful to the program because without it, I really do not know what else to do. Every time I see my two-year-old child, I pity him because I cannot even provide milk for his sustenance), Aquino tearfully shared.

The DSWD, through FO CAR, will continue to monitor the Daguio family and provide case management in order to ensure that they will be able to properly settle back in their hometown. Furthermore, the FO will also refer the family to proper partner-agencies for other necessary interventions.

The BP2 aims to provide hope for a better future to Filipinos through equity in resources throughout the country that will boost regional development. It is geared towards encouraging people from the congested urban areas in Metro Manila to return to their home provinces and assist them in this transition with support and incentives on transportation, family, livelihood, housing, subsistence and education, among others.

Journal Online
A collection of noteworthy information on various topics from the Philippines and the rest of the world.