Decongestion Equals Food Production: Gov't agencies to encourage slum residents in the province with financial assistance - The Daily Sentry

Monday, June 11, 2018

Decongestion Equals Food Production: Gov't agencies to encourage slum residents in the province with financial assistance

Comparison of congested slum areas and the province life surrounded with greeneries/ photo from Manny Pinol's post (ctto)

Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol shared a good idea to decongest Metro Manila that was proposed by veteran newsman he knows.

Though the idea of bringing people from slum is not something new, as there were proposals about it in the past, Piñol is confident that the project would succeed as long as there will be commitment and proper coordination between the government organizations.

The program was named “Balik sa Kabukiran”, proposed by Radio Anchorman Henry Uri, wherein residents with farm lands in the province will be given a package assistance to start anew while others who do not have lands, they will be given a special arrangement by the government.

The idea is also like hitting two birds in one stone for decongestion will also result to more food production.

Below is the complete Facebook post of DA secretary, Manny Piñol;

Decongestion Plus Food Production
By Manny Piñol

A veteran newsman on Saturday proposed the idea of luring families to go back to their provinces with the needed support from government to help decongest urban centers and contribute to greater agricultural productivity under a program called "Balik sa Kabukiran."

Under the proposal, slum dwelling families will be asked to join a relocation program which will assure them of financial support during the first few years when they will be establishing their livelihood programs, a piece of land for those who do not have properties in their provinces and a government assisted marketing of their produce.

Radio anchorman Henry Uri, himself a provinciano and a long-time member of the Manila Broadcasting Corporation's DZRH station, brought up the idea during the weekly"Biyaheng Bukid" program which I co-host with him.*

The idea came up after the on-air discussion tackled the programs of the Department of Agriculture which offers Easy Access Credit and support for farmers to be able to use their lands for food production.

In the idea broached by Henry Uri, Metro Manila slums dwellers could be classified into those who have farms to return to and those who have no properties at all.

Those with farms to go back to could be offered a package of assistance from financial support for the first 2 to 3 years after relocation, viable livelihood projects and marketing assistance.

Those who do not have any property could be offered public lands under a stewardship arrangement which they could use to be productive.

The idea of bringing back slum-dwelling families to their home provinces is not new
In fact, there were several attempts in the past to lure slum dwellers to go home to their provinces but all of these failed because of the lack of a coordinated effort among agencies of the government.

During the discussion on "Biyaheng Bukid," both Henry and I agreed that several agencies of government should be involved to ensure that the "Balik sa Kabukiran" program would succeed.*

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources would be tasked to identify public lands or reforestation areas where the families could be given as much as 5 hectares each under a stewardship agreement.

The National Housing Authority (NHA) could be tasked with providing each family a modest farm house which would be given as a grant.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development will be given the responsbility of preparing the families for the relocation and providing financial and food support during the period the families are starting livelihood projects.*

The Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA) could be tasked with training the members of the families for simple technical skills like operating farm equipment.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will provided livelihood projects, including training in Agriculture or other income earning activities.

The relocated families could be trained in tree farming and the planting of high value crops, a program which is now being implemented by the DA for the members of the Tribal Communities under the 4Ks Program or Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran ng mga Kababayang Katutubo.

This program if implemented will not only decongest Metro Manila and other urban centers but also increase productivity and make use of the millions of hectares of land which are not being used for food production today.

I promised Henry Uri that I will prepare a Concept Paper on the "Balik sa Kabukiran" Program which I will present to President Rody Duterte for his consideration.