MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go lauded the move to provide a one-time “Bayanihan” financial assistance to local government units (LGUs) to help them respond to the increasing needs of their respective constituents.
As recommended by Go based on the appeal of various LGUs, the Department of Budget and Management is now set to release PHP30.824 billion to help LGUs cope with the growing needs of their constituents and the economic blow brought about by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic to the local communities.
“Ang gobyernong lokal ang humaharap mismo sa araw-araw na problema ng kanilang mga nasasakupan. Tama lang na bigyan ng karagdagang pondo ang ating mga LGUs lalo na sa panahon ngayon na maraming walang trabaho at maraming umaasa sa ayuda mula sa gobyerno (The local governments face problems every day in their jurisdiction. It is only proper to give LGUs additional funds especially now that many have no work and rely only to government assistance),” Go said.
Go said the PHP30.824 billion will bolster the capacity of the LGUs to respond to the needs of their constituents.
“Siguraduhin natin na walang magugutom para hindi magkagulo at maging cooperative ang mga tao. Malaking tulong ito para masiguro ang kapayapaan at kaayusan sa panahon ng krisis (Let’s make sure no one is hungry so that people do not become disruptive and they become cooperative. It is a great help in ensuring peace and order in times of crisis),” he said.
Go, a member of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee overseeing the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, said use of the funds must be done in a transparent manner with an assurance that the assistance reaches those who need help the most.
“Sa panahong ito, konsensya niyo na lamang ang tututok sa inyo. Siguraduhin natin na magamit ang pondo ng tama, walang masayang, at maramdaman ng mga tao kahit sa malalayong lugar ang tulong mula sa gobyerno (Nowadays, your conscience will only focus on you. Make sure that the funds are used correctly, it will not be wasted, and that people in remote areas can get help from the government),” Go said.
Go added that the grant should be used exclusively for projects, programs and activities concerning the Covid-19 crisis on top of what the national government is providing to the families affected by the anti-coronavirus measures.
He said LGUs can use the fund for procurement of personal protective equipment for front line 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.
“Dapat magtulungan ang LGUs at national government agencies, pati na rin ang private sector, para matapalan kung ano man ang magiging kulang sa mga kailangan ng taumbayan (LGUs and national government agencies, as well as the private sector, must work together to fill what the people need),” Go said.
Go earlier recommended that the one-time “Bayanihan” financial assistance could be equivalent to LGUs’ one-month Internal Revenue Allotments and will be limited to cities and municipalities, since provinces and barangays have similar constituencies.
With the one-time financial grant, he said small and poor LGUs will be able to respond to the needs of their constituents.
Several representatives of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) 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.
In a manifesto, the LMP, headed by Mayor Luis ‘Chavit’ Singson, said Go’s initiative is “necessary to alleviate the burden of answering to the needs of our people.”
“This financial grant would be of valuable assistance to the continuous and unhampered delivery of services to our constituents, medical personnel and other LGU personnel and activities designated to address the ongoing crisis,” the manifesto added. (PR)