Shun politics in COVID-19 response, local governments told
MANILA, Philippines — Local government units (LGUs) must set aside political considerations in their use of additional funds, as the national government is set to pump an additional P30.8 billion to LGUs to augment their resources in the battle against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday.
He also reiterated guidelines against the “epal” practices from some politicians hogging the limelight in the distribution of relief supplies and assistance, especially amid a health crisis during the Lenten season.
“This is the time of Lent, and what we need is to help one another and to unite so we can rise together from this crisis. This is not the time to seek popularity and political mileage,” he said in a radio interview.
Año announced that the Office of the President has approved the release of P30.824 billion as “Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities,” to boost their capacity to respond to the needs of their constituents.
He said the one-time grant to LGUs was equivalent to one month of their internal revenue allotment, which should be used solely for programs, projects and activities relating to the control of COVID-19.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday warned local government units against having prospective beneficiaries fill up photocopied versions of the Social Amelioration Cards (SAC).
The SACs are barcoded and have control numbers, the department said.
“Photocopying is not allowed. Report [these incidents] to the local government units,” DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said.
Earlier, several local governments aired complaints against a “quota system” being imposed in the distribution of social amelioration funds meant to help tide over their poor constituents during the national health emergency which was triggered by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Under the quota system, each municipality or city is given a fixed amount from the P200 billion Social Amelioration Program (SAP) fund based on the Department of Finance’s data from the 2015 census.
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