The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) asked local government units Thursday to plan and set aside a budget for their recovery and rehabilitation even if the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic remains a threat.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the advance preparation will reinvigorate the economy from the deadly disease.
“We need to recover now kahit ‘di pa tapos ang COVID-19 crisis kasi mas lalala ang epekto nito sa ekonomiya at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan (Even if the COVID-19 crisis is not over yet since this will have a more adverse effect in the economy and livelihood of the citizens). The DILG is collaborating with other national government agencies in the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to help LGUs prepare their recovery strategies and programs. The goal is to build back better,” he said to local chief executives (LCEs) participating in a webinar.
With technical support from the World Bank, Malaya said the DILG has developed the “Ready to Recover (We Rise as One) COVID-19 Local Recovery Planning Guide” to help the LGUs prepare and recover from the current health crisis.
Malaya noted that with vast parts of the country now classified as low-risk, a large area can now begin recovery efforts to protect jobs and stimulate economic activity.
“With private consumption and investment still down, it is now up to the national and local governments to drive consumption and investment with government spending and policies that support the growth and recovery of local businesses,” said Malaya.
Malaya said the Local Recovery Planning Guide will simplify recovery and rehabilitation planning to give LGUs flexibility in interventions.
“It has sample frameworks, templates, and suggested programs, projects, and activities (PPAs). It will guide LGUs on the coordination of recovery efforts of national, regional, and local governments, including the roles, responsibilities, and institutional structures,” he said.
Malaya said that LGUs need not create a new local body to do the local recovery planning and budgeting.
Malaya said “this can be done through the creation of an economic cluster within the existing Local COVID-19 Task Force headed by a mayor or governor.’’
“The institutional setup for recovery should be the same setup for the Local COVID-19 Task Force. As this team responds to COVID-19, it should also be transitioning to recovery from its impacts. This ensures that recovery planning is done within the context of contact tracing, quarantine measures, and the new normal. However, you can add as many members as you see fit,” Malaya noted.
Malaya said the DILG has identified at least 10 indicative fund source options based on existing government guidelines that can be tapped by the implementing agencies or LGUs to help address the challenges of fund availability.
He noted this includes national government programs and financing assistance programs of select Government Financial Institutions (GFIs) and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs).
Malaya disclosed the financing sources for LGUs’ recovery from the COVID-19 crisis are the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF), and Quick Response Fund of select national government implementing agencies such as Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, and Department of Health.
Other possible sources are the Local Government Support Fund-Financial Assistance to LGUs (LGSF – FA), LGSF-Assistance to Municipalities, Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) Incentive Fund, Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP), Regular Agency Budget, and the 20 percent Development Fund (DF).
“Hindi kayo basta iiwan na lang ng nasyunal na gobyerno (The government will not just abandon you). We will monitor your local recovery programs and projects and assess your progress to ensure you stay on track and achieve your intended results,’’ Malaya assured.
Malaya also cited the importance of the LGUs’ communication efforts in informing their constituents of their initiatives to jumpstart local recovery.
“Minsan mahirap sa gobyerno ay tayo-tayo lang nakakaalam ng ginagawa natin. ‘Pag wala sa balita, akala ng mga tao walang ginagawa ang LGUs (Sometimes it is hard if the government only knew what it is doing. If it is not in the news, people might think that the LGUs are doing nothing). Let’s make use of digital tools in communicating with the people. Maliban sa health care workers (Aside from the health care workers), LCEs (local chief executives) are also heroes in this COVID-19 crisis,” Malaya said.
He urged LGUs to manage people’s expectations by providing proactive messages to address or clarify recovery issues.