5.2 million Filipinos to benefit from BDP program, says Esperon
By Maricel Cruz / Manila Standard
An estimated 5.2 million Filipinos are expected to benefit from the Duterte administration’s flagship program called Barangay Development Program (BDP) for 2021 and 2022.
In defending the budget of the BDP in a congressional hearing on Monday, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the program has been instrumental in addressing the conditions of the conflict-affected communities in far- flung areas, and “in realizing the long sought-for development that they have been seeking.”
For 2022, about 1,406 barangays will be included in the BDP program and will each receive P20 million worth of infrastructure projects that include farm-to-market roads, barangay health centers, potable water systems, school buildings, and livelihood programs.
The proposed budget for the BDP in 2022 is pegged at P28.2 billion.
“Through the BDP, we at the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) see that this batch of 1,406 barangays will be emancipated from the influence of the Communist Terrorists and become peaceful and productive societies,” said Esperon, vice chairman of the NTF-ELCAC.
“Testimonies abound from the youth, barangay captains, and residents on the efficacy and effectiveness of the BDP,” he said.
The first batch of 822 barangays were funded from the General Appropriations Act of 2021 at P20 million each, or a total of P16.44 billion.
Esperon stressed that the second batch of BDP beneficiaries or the 1,406 barangays went through the Community Support Program, initiated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, from 2020 to the first quarter of 2021. The fund for these projects is now included in the National Expenditure Program being deliberated by Congress.
For 2022, most of the beneficiaries will be from Region V (Bicol); Region XI (Davao Region); Region XIII (CARAGA); Region X (Northern Mindanao); Region VIII (Eastern Visayas); Region VI (Western Visayas) and others, Esperon said.
In terms of provinces, most barangays that were already free from New People’s Army (NPA) threat and influence are from Sorsogon, Bukidnon, Davao de Oro, North Cotabato, Agusan del Sur, Davao City, Camarines Sur, Surigao del Sur and others.
As of September 9, about 99.03 percent P16.289B of the P16.44B funds for the BDP implementation in 2021 had already been released to the provincial and city governments in compliance to LBC 135 and 135-A, he said.
“On the status of project implementation, I am pleased to report that despite the challenges of the pandemic, regional task forces are already facilitating the pre-procurement stage of 1,244 projects, the procurement process of 823 projects, and the implementation of 211 projects,” Esperon said.
He lamented that for decades, the CPP-NPA-NDF triad had ruined dreams, destroyed families, abused children, oppressed indigenous peoples, and held back the country’s progress.
Esperon said the BDP is the government’s commitment, thru the NTF-ELCAC, to rebuild what the Communist Terrorist Group have devastated and with these projects the administration will now be planting the seeds of genuine progress and development.