By Chito Chavez
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said on Saturday, March 28, that the local government units (LGU) may replenish their depleted budget for COVID-19 related expenses. They can use the funds initially intended for their development projects.
In a press briefing, Malaya said this came to fruition after DILG Secretary Eduardo Año and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel Avisado signed joint memorandum circular No. 1, which expands the utilization of 20 percent of the annual internal revenue allotment (IRA) for development projects.
Malaya also mentioned that numerous mayors fear that their quick response funds (QRF) may soon run out with the soaring COVID-19 cases. With the joint memorandum, Malaya said the LGUs may now use the 20 percent development fund to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), COVID-19 testing kits, hospital equipment, and food assistance for the affected families.
But Malaya clarified that it is unlawful for the LGUs to use the said funds to purchase fixtures, furniture, and motor vehicles. To clarify things further, Malaya said the DILG will furnish LGUs copies of the joint circular by posting it on its social media pages. The DILG spokesman said this will enable the LGUs to pass ordinances that will make it lawful for them to realign the budget for COVID-19 purposes.