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Davao City, Philippines

Go urges LGUs to use ‘Bayanihan’ fund to help frontliners and the poor

April 08, 2020 - Wednesday 6:04 PM by Ruth Palo

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DAVAO CITY — Senator Christopher Lawrence Go on Wednesday reminded local officials to utilize the recently approved one-time “Bayanihan” financial assistance to local government units (LGUs) to help them respond to the needs of their constituents.

This as the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), upon Go’s recommendation, is set to release P30.824 billion in cash to help LGUs cope with the growing needs of their constituents and the economic fallout brought about by the COVID-19 health emergency to the local communities.

“It is the local government that faces the problems of the constituents on a daily basis. It is just right to give the LGUs additional funds during this time when a large number of people are without work and are depending on assistance from the government,” Go said in a statement.

“This fund will give the LGUs additional capacity to respond to the needs of their communities. We will make sure no one will go hungry so that there will be no chaos and the people will cooperate. This is a big help to ensure peace and order during this crisis,” he added.

Go told local officials that their conscience should guide them in the use of the additional funds.

“Let us make sure the funds are used properly, with none of it getting wasted. The people, even those in farflung areas, should feel the help of the government,” he said.

Go said the grant should be used exclusively for projects, programs, and activities concerning the COVID-19 situation on top of what the national government is providing. 

He said 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.

“The LGUs should cooperate with national government agencies and with the private sector in order to augment what is being given to the people,” Go said.

Go had earlier recommended that the one-time “Bayanihan” financial assistance could be equivalent to LGUs’ one-month Internal Revenue Allotments.

The assistance will be limited to cities and municipalities since provinces and barangays have similar constituencies.

Go said since not all LGUs are created equal, those that are smaller, poorer, and more distant with lower tax collection may already be financially constrained.