To further support financial needs in containing spread of COVID-19 and to continue providing basic services to the affected population, Local Government Units are now allowed to utilize their 20% Local Development Fund for this purpose. 

With this, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-10 reminds Local Chief Executives to use it prudently, ensuring that necessary services will reach the people. 

“The national government has entrusted this to our LGUs because we know that they are at the forefront in undertaking critical, urgent and appropriate measures against COVID-19,” said DILG 10 Regional Director Arnel M. Agabe. 

“Thus, there will be no excuses on not being able to implement projects, programs, activities against COVID-19 as another source of funding is now allowed to be utilized,” he added. 

Initially, the Local Development Fund is a required allocation of LGUs out of their respective annual Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). The purpose of this fund is to finance the LGU’s priority development projects, supporting the Philippine Development Plan and Public Investment Program. 

But with the declaration of State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines due to COVID-19, the DILG and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Joint Memorandum Circular No. 01 dated March 27, 2020, indicated that this funding can now be used to curtail threats of said disease. 

Allowing the use of the Local Development Fund will give LGUs greater leeway and flexibility in the utilization of funds for their disaster preparedness and response efforts in dealing with the threats of COVID-19 crisis. 

Under the said JMC, procurement of the following supplies is allowed in utilizing said fund: 

·        personal protective equipment;

·        equipment, reagent, and kits for COVID-19 testing;

·        medicines and vitamins;

·        hospital equipment and supplies; and

·        disinfectants, sprayers, disinfection tents and other disinfecting supplies and misting equipment 

Moreover, the Local Development Fund could now be used to cater the food, transportation, and accommodation expenses of medical personnel and other LGU personnel directly involved in the implementation of COVID-19-related programs, projects, and activities (PPAs). 

Aside from that, it can also be utilized for food assistance and other relief goods for “affected” households. 

Lastly, other expenses that may be charged against the Local Development Fund are the following: 

·        Construction/repair/lease/rental of additional space/building to accommodate COVID-19 patients and persons under monitoring/investigation;

·        Operation of stand-alone/mobile testing laboratory;

·        Purchase/rental of tents for temporary shelters of the homeless;

·        Training of personnel in the conduct of COVID-19 testing and other related trainings; and

·        Other necessary COVID-19-related PPAs and expenses.

“We challenge our LGUs to strategically utilize this fund and know what to prioritize in their respective areas of jurisdiction in this crisis, knowing that priorities may vary from one LGU to another,” said RD Agabe. (DILG 10/LGOO II Rezza Mae B. Tolinero)