By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday issued an order requiring the local government units (LGUs) to immediately set up isolation facilities for novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) patients with no or mild symptoms.
In a news briefing, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya stressed the influx of testing centers in the country will necessitate more tests which would naturally mean a rise in the total of positive COVID-19 cases.
With the expected upsurge in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, Malaya said the LGU built isolation facilities will help ease the congestion woes in the hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients.
Stressing his point further, Malaya made it clear that the isolation facilities will come in handy as it is not advisable for some patients to remain in the hospitals with the overflowing number of severe COVID-19 cases coming in.
Since this is the expected situation, Malaya noted a big number of patients with no or mild symptoms will just add to the “congestion in our hospitals’’.
Malaya noted that President Duterte upon the recommendation of Senator Christopher Go will allot funds for the LGUs for this purpose as mandated under the “Bayanihan Grant’’.
He explained that the “Bayanihan Grant’’ for the LGUs may be used by the concerned cities and municipalities for their COVID-19 response projects.
The “Bayanihan Grant’’ may be used to purchase personal protective equipment, hospital apparatus, barangay health center COVID-19 supplies, vitamins, medicines, food packs among others.
Malaya added that this funds may also be utilized for isolation activities or other medically response needs for COVID crisis.
“Kung mayroon silang hotel na gagawing isolation facilities at may mga babayaran to make that happen that can also be charged under the “Bayanihan Grant’’. (If they need to pay the hotel being used as isolation facilities they can be charged under the “Bayanihan Grant’’ one-month IRA (internal revenue allotment),’’ Malaya said.
He noted that it is a one-month extra IRA meaning it is like a 13th month pay on top of the regular IRA they are entitled to.
The LGUs will receive the grant immediately as soon as the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) finalizes the guidelines. (Chito Chavez) #