Bong Go urges quick provision of one-time financial assistance to LGUs
(The Philippine Star) - April 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After recommending earlier to the Executive Department the grant of one-time ‘Bayanihan’ financial assistance to cities and municipalities, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go reiterated its importance to help local government units (LGUs) respond to the needs of their constituents while the country is easing the economic impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health emergency.

“Ang gobyernong lokal ang humaharap mismo sa araw-araw na problema ng kanilang mga nasasakupan. Sila ang unang nilalapitan ng mga tao. Tulungan natin silang mabigyan ng dagdag na kapasidad para rumesponde sa pangangailangan ng kanilang komunidad lalo na po sa malalayong lugar na kailangan ng tulong at hindi agad nabibigyan ng pansin ng national government,” Go explained.

Citing his experience as President Rodrigo Duterte’s aide when the latter was still Davao city mayor, Go stressed the important role of local government units in protecting the welfare of their communities.

“Dati po akong nagtrabaho sa city hall ng Davao City kaya alam ko kung gaano po kahirap ang kanilang trabaho lalo na sa panahon ng krisis. Mahalaga ang ginagampanan nilang trabaho para masiguro ang kooperasyon ng mga Pilipino sa panahong ito,” Go said.

Go said that a one-time grant from the national government, equivalent to one month of their respective internal revenue allotments (IRA), will go a long way in enhancing the capabilities of LGUs in responding to the crisis. He explained that the one-time Bayanihan financial assistance for cities and municipalities can be taken from available funds or savings of the national government.

Go added that if this proposal is granted, the funds should be used exclusively for projects, programs and activities concerning the COVID-19 situation, such as the procurement of personal protective equipment for frontline service providers; medicines and vitamins; hospital equipment and supplies; disinfectants and related equipment; relief goods for low-income and vulnerable households; and tents for temporary shelter of the homeless, among others.

He also clarified that the grant should be on top of other assistance that national government agencies are already providing to LGUs. Go also explained that while the national government is taking charge in this time of crisis, LGUs must take responsibility as well in addressing the immediate needs of their constituents.

“Now, more than ever, we as elected officials must do everything we can to be of service to the people,” he said.

Go also reminded LGUs to make sure that the assistance reaches those who need aid the most, adding that politics should not be a factor in providing such assistance.

“Pakiusap ko lang, huwag na pong haluan ng pulitika ang pagtulong.Hindi po iyan nakakatulong sa sitwasyon natin ngayon. Huwag na natin pahirapan pa ang mga tao, tumulong na lang tayo na pabilisin ang pagbigay ng tulong sa kanila,” Go said.

He reminded government officials to make sure that available funds are used properly and are maximized to provide immediate help to Filipinos who need government attention the most.

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