MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is providing a total of P30.8 billion in cash grant to local governments for their response to the coronavirus crisis.
Dubbed as “Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities,” it serves as the national government’s assistance to local government units to boost their coronavirus war chest, as LGU funds are slowly drying up due to relief efforts.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released Local Budget Circular No. 125, which laid out the guidelines for the utilization of the funds.
How much is the grant?
The grant is equivalent to the cities and municipalities one-month Internal Revenue Allotment, their share in the national government’s collection.
It can be used during the 6-month state of calamity, from March 16 to September, unless earlier lifted or extended by which President Rodrigo Duterte.
See how much each city and municipality will get:
LGUs should submit a report on how the fund is utilized and the status of implementation of projects at end of each month. DBM said that these reports should be posted on the LGU’s website and at 3 public places.
The circular requires LGUs to send a letter to DBM, Senate of the Philippines, Senate finance committe, House of Representatives, and House appropriations committee, among others, informing them that the reports are already up on their website.
For “easier” tracking purposes, the DBM requires over 1,600 cities and municipalities to pass an ordinance creating a special account in general fund, which contained the grant. SAGF is important as recipient cities and municipalities need to return the unspent funds to the National Treasury after the lifting of the state of calamity.
Where it can be used
The grant can be used to procure personal protective equipment, kits for coronavirus testing, hospital equipment and supplies, disinfection supplies and equipment, and disinfection tents.
It can also cover food, transportation, and accommodation expenses of medical and LGU personnel directly involved in coronavirus activities.
It can also be used to provide food assistance and relief goods to affected households.
The following expenses can also be covered by the grant:
- Construction, repair, or rental of additional space to accommodate patients, persons under monitoring and investigation, and the homeless
- Operation of stand-alone or mobile testing laboratory
- Training for personnel in conducting testing and other related training
Where it cannot be used
The circular prohibits the following use of the funds:
- Any form of cash assistance
- Personnel services expenditures, such as salaries, overtime pay, and other personnel benefits
- Administrative expenses, such as supplies, meetings, communication, water and electricity, petroleum products, and other general services
- Traveling expenses, whether domestic or foreign
- Registration or participation fees in trainings, seminars, conferences
- Purchase of administrative office’s furniture, equipment, or appliances
- Purchase or maintenance of motor vehicles
- Other programs or exprenses that are not related to coronavirus measures
How will the local governments receive their grant?
The DBM will issue corresponding Special Allotment Release Order and Notice of Cash Allocation to the Bureau of Treasury and authorized government servicing banks, like Land Bank of the Philippines or the Development Bank of the Philippines.
These documents are authorizations from the DBM that will trigger the release of funds to the LGUs. – Rappler.com