Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go
Go reiterates provision of one-time fund for LGUs
(The Philippine Star) - April 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After recommending to the executive department the grant of a one-time ‘Bayanihan’ financial assistance to cities and municipalities, Sen. Bong Go has reiterated its importance to help them respond to the needs of their constituents while the country is addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the socioeconomic impact that comes with it.

“It is the local governments that face the day-to-day problems of their constituents. They are the ones that get approached for help first. Let us help them by improving their capacity to respond to these calls, especially in far-flung places that are not easily reached by the national government,” Go said.

Citing his experience working as aide of then Davao City mayor and now President Duterte, Go stressed the important role of local government units (LGUs) to protect the welfare of their communities. 

“I used to work at the city hall that’s why I know the hardships employees face during crisis. They play an important role during this time. That’s why we need to help the local government units in taking care of their communities. It would be a big help if we are able to augment the funds they use to help their constituents,” he said.

He added that a one-time grant from the national government, equivalent to one month of their respective internal revenue allotments (IRA), would go a long way in enhancing the capabilities of LGUs in responding to the crisis.

The one-time Bayanihan financial assistance for cities and municipalities can be taken from available funds or savings of the national government, he added.

If the proposal is granted, Go said the funds would be solely for projects, programs and activities concerning the COVID-19 situation that include 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 explained that having forced their constituents to stay at home, LGUs are compelled to distribute relief goods and maintain peace and order while waiting for additional government interventions from national government agencies.

“If no one is hungry, Filipinos would be more cooperative with the government. This would also help a lot in ensuring peace and order. Now, more than ever, we, as elected officials, must do everything we can to be of service to the people,” he also said.

Go reminded LGUs to make sure that the assistance reaches those who need aid the most, particularly the poorest of the poor, vulnerable sectors and displaced workers. He added that politics should not be a factor in providing such assistance.

As chair of the Senate committee on health and as a member of the joint oversight committee that oversees the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Go emphasized that the law has already given the government the necessary authority and flexibility to act immediately to address the present crisis.

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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