THE trade department said it will offer livelihood kits with seed capital of between P5,000 and P15,000 for participants in the Balik Probinsya program, to help them start businesses after leaving the cities.
Trade Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman said in an online news conference Thursday that the businesses to be funded include small neighborhood stores.
He added that there is no limit to the number of people enrolled in the program that may be given starter kits.
The government is counting on 1 million Metro Manila residents to move to the provinces over the next six months under the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa” program, which is designed to decongest the capital.
“’Yung livelihood seeding program na nagkakahalaga na P203 million na ready po na maipamigay natin… at madadagdagan pa po ‘yan dahil of course may stimulus package po na pwedeng idagdag. Lahat po ng mag-eenroll natin dito ay sinisigurado na mabibigyan natin ng ayuda dito sa mga starter kit, (We have P203 million ready to hand out for livelihood seeding, and expect more funds when the stimulus packages are approved. Everyone who enrolls is certain to receive aid via the starter kits,” Mr. Macatoman said.
The P203 million was sourced from the DTI’s Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa, an assistance program for disaster victims.
“Sa ngayon ‘yung specific na amount, na fund for this Balik Probinsya program ay hindi natin po masasagot ‘yan. Ang pwedeng sumagot diyan ay ang ating Department of Budget and Management (DBM). The agency that can answer that question is the DBM).”
Executive Order 114 authorizing the Balik Probinsya program calls on the DBM to identify funding sources, while agencies may realign their appropriations for the program.
Over 30,000 Metro Manila residents have signed up for the program. The first batch of over a hundred people returned to Leyte on May 20.
Mr. Macatoman said the trade department will wait for the go signal from local governments on their health protocols before assistance is offered to beneficiaries. — Jenina P. Ibañez