Palace OKs P30.8 billion grant for LGUs to fight COVID
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - April 9, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Over P30 billion has been approved for release by the Office of the President as grant to the cities and municipalities to boost the capacities of the local government units to respond to the needs of their constituents amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the President approved a total amount of P30.824-billion. Each city and municipality in the country will get a one-time grant equivalent to one month share of their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

Año said the money can be used for relief efforts to help the most affected constituents because of the enhanced community quarantine.  Año thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for the speedy approval of the request for assistance. He also acknowledged the help of Senator Bong Go who first proposed this measure in behalf of all LGUs who are in the frontlines of the war against COVID-19.

 Go, a member of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee overseeing the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, reminded LGUs to utilize the funds properly to provide immediate aid to the affected Filipino families.

He also emphasized the need for transparency and the assurance that the assistance will reach to those who need help the most.   Go, in a separate statement, said that the grant should be used exclusively for projects, programs and activities concerning the COVID-19 situation on top of what is provided by the national government.

 Go said that LGUs can use the fund for 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.

  Several representatives of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines have previously expressed their support for Go’s proposal as a number of LGUs were already running low on funds needed to combat COVID-19.

 Año also urged cities and municipalities to ensure that the Bayanihan Grant is utilized properly and wisely and to maximize it for the benefit of their constituents.  Año reiterated his call to set aside politics in this time of crisis and ensure that help is given regardless of political affiliation.

He also reminded the local officials of the “No Epal” provision in the guidelines released by the government in the distribution of relief goods.  He urged the public to do their part in helping combat the COVID-19 crisis by obeying the guidelines on the enhanced community quarantine set by the government and cooperating with authorities.

Año said that in order for the country to rise above a crisis of this scope and magnitude, the people should be committed and united to tread the path of cooperation, healing and recovery.  FPL (FREEMAN)

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