Duterte: About 1% of P30.82-B Bayanihan Grant to LGUs accounted for so far

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Duterte: About 1% of P30.82-B Bayanihan Grant to LGUs accounted for so far
Good Samaritans hand out food packs and bottled water to street dwellers along Roxas Boulevard in Manila on March 29, 2020.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Only about one percent of the financial aid given to local government units to boost their capabilities to respond to the coronavirus pandemic has been liquidated as of May 21, President Rodrigo Duterte said.

In his ninth report to Congress on the government's response to the pandemic, Duterte said about P397 million worth of Bayanihan Grant to LGUs were covered by fund utilization reports.

The budget department has released P30.82 billion to cover the funding requirements for the one-time financial assistance to cities and municipalities.

"As of 21 May 2020, fund utilization reports from 19 LGUs (15 municipalities and four cities) liquidated P397.065 million worth of funds under the said grant," Duterte said in the report.

"The above breakdown represents 1.07% of total Bayanihan Grants released to provinces, cities, and municipalities," he added.

The bulk of the liquidated amount or 59.68% went to food assistance and other relief goods for affected households while 21.7% were used to buy hospital equipment and supplies.

"The DBM (Department of Budget and Management) has mobilized its regional offices to ensure submission of the required fund utilization reports to generate reliable data that may be used for forward planning during the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic," the president said.

A breakdown of the expenses of the Bayanihan Grant to LGUs showed that P236.95 million was used for food aid and other relief goods while P86.18 million was spent for hospital equipment.

About P19.21 million was used for food, transportation, and accommodation expenses  while P15.42 million was spent to buy personal protective equipment. About P12.62 million was spent for other necessary COVID-19 programs, activities, and projects while P12.54 million was used to buy medicines and vitamins.

The local governments who submitted liquidation reports spent P5.16 million for construction, repair, lease, and rental of additional spaces and buildings to accommodate COVID-19 patients and persons under monitoring or investigation and about P3.19 million to buy disinfectants, sprayers, disinfection tents, and other disinfection supplies.

About P2.62 million was used to buy or rent tents and spaces for temporary shelters of the homeless while P1.6 million went to equipment, reagents and kits for COVID-19 testing. Local governments spent P1.295 million for the operation of stand-alone and mobile testing laboratory and P275,000 for training of personnel tasked to conduct COVID-19 tests.

Under Local Budget Circular No. 125 dated April 07, 2020, the fund shall be subject to existing procurement, budgeting, accounting and auditing rules and regulations.

In a recent statement, the budget department said the Bayanihan Grant for LGUs is equivalent to one month internal revenue allotment share of cities and  municipalities for this year.

The released amount for the Bayanihan grant shall be used by LGUs for the duration of the state of calamity declared by Duterte last March 16. Funds that are not used after the lifting of the state of calamity will be returned to the National Treasury.

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