DILG to LGUs: Realign your budgets to feed more during Luzon lockdown

Rambo Talabong
DILG to LGUs: Realign your budgets to feed more during Luzon lockdown


The DILG says local governments can set realign items in their budgets that are not urgent like 'beautification projects'

MANILA, Philippines –  The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday, March 19, advised local governments to realign their budgets so they can allot more money for  relief assistance to the poor during the month-long Luzon lockdown.

“They can realign. Just call the Council. Beautification projects can be realigned for now. This (social welfare) is what we need to respond to right now,” DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said during a Laging Handa press briefing on Thursday.

Why does this matter? During the program, a barangay captain phoned in a question asking what they should do if they’re running out of money for their respective relief and feeding programs. Malaya said they should turn to their municipal and city governments, and that the local governments should realign their budgets to release more funds. (Here’s a DILG opinion backing Malaya’s recommendation)

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered a lockdown in the whole of Luzon, which has a 57 million people most of whom would not be able to go to work because of the restrictions imposed on individuals and businesses during the lockdown period. He also declared a state of calamity in the country, which allows local governments to tap their Quick Response Fund.

Help is coming: Malaya said the national government’s aid will reach local governments by next week, or March 23 at the earliest. This would be led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which is preparing the food packs.  

Until then, Malaya said barangay officials should feed their indigent constituents “systematically,” or to ensure that while they give away food packs, they would still observe social distancing . – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.