DILG: LGUs may now use 20% dev’t fund for COVID-19 response
Local government units (LGUs) may now utilize its 20% development fund to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate measures to curtail and eliminate the threat of COVID-19 in their areas, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the DILG and the Department of Budget and Management recently signed Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 series of 2020 that provides greater leeway in the utilization of the 20% development fund of LGUs in view of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“With the signing of the JMC, we are giving LGUs more flexibility in using their development fund for disaster preparedness and response efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus and to continue to provide basic services to their constituents who are severely affected by the enhanced community quarantine,” he said.
According to Año, the Department has received reports from its different regional and field units that several LGUs have expressed concerns on whether their quick response funds can last until mid-April given the huge expenses they incur daily in providing relief goods and other assistance to thousands of their affected constituents.
“Batid namin na puwedeng kulangin ang pondo ng ating mga LGUs para bumili ng mga kinakailangang medical equipment at sa pag-alalay sa ating mga kababayan na lubos na naapektuhan ng krisis na ito. By allowing them to use their 20% development fund, they will now have sufficient resources to procure the needed food, medical supplies, and other help to their poor constituents,” says Año.
Under the JMC, LGUs may use their 20% development fund for the procurement of personal protective equipment, hospital equipment and supplies, disinfectants, sprayers, disinfection tents and other supplies or misting equipment, and COVID-19 testing kits, reagents and equipment.
Food, transportation, and accommodation expenses of medical personnel and other LGU personnel directly involved in the implementation of COVID-19-related initiatives as well as food assistance and relief goods for affected households may also be charged to the 20% DF.
Expenses for the construction or rental of additional spaces to accommodate COVID-19 PUIs and PUMs as well as for the operation of stand-alone or mobile testing laboratories may also be funded out of the development fund.
In addition, the said fund may also be utilized for the acquisition of temporary shelters for the homeless, personnel training in the conduct of COVID-19 testing and other related trainings, and other necessary COVID-19 related programs, projects, and activities (PPAs).
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan said that while the JMC gives enough elbow room for LGUs in using the development fund, there are also limitations.
"Hindi ito puwedeng gamitin para bumili ng furniture, fixture [s], appliances at motor vehicles. Pero kung gagamitin po ninyo ang 20 percent development fund para pambili ng food assistance para sa inyong constituents puwedeng-puwede po,” he said.
Also disallowed are personal services expenditures, such as salaries, wages, overtime pay and other personnel benefits; and administrative expenses such as supplies, meetings, communication, water and electricity, petroleum products, other general services.
Registration or participation fees in training, seminars, conferences or conventions as well as travelling expenses cannot also be charged to the development fund.