THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will release P9.89 billion in additional funds to local government units (LGUs) for use in priority projects.
Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno on Feb. 5 issued Local Budget Circular No. 117 which prescribes the guidelines for the release and utilization of the Local Government Support Fund-Financial Assistance (LGSF-FA) to Local Government Units.
According to the circular, the LGSF-FA “shall be exclusively used to fund the eligible programs and projects enumerated under Special Provision No. 1” in the 2018 budget.
These include assistance to indigent patients either confined or out-patient; the purchase of ambulances; medical, burial, transportation, food, cash, and educational assistance to indigent individuals or families; purchase of mini dump trucks, firetrucks, multicabs and/or police patrol cars.
It also includes the construction or repair of public roads, markets, buildings, canals, footbridges, parks, cemeteries, water systems, evacuation centers and sports facilities; the purchase and installation of barangay street lighting and traffic lights, and insurance coverage under the Government Service Insurance System for LGU facilities against natural calamities.
However, provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays concerned should secure approval from the DBM before the funds are released. The deadline for the submission of requests for funding is Sept. 30.
“All requests shall be subject to the evaluation by the DBM based on necessity, just and equitable distribution among LGUs, and fund availability,” the circular read.
LGUs are prohibited from tapping the fund for personnel allowances and bonuses, and projects already fully financed under the 2018 budget.
The fund supplements those provided by the General Appropriations Act, internal revenue allotments provided by the national government to LGUs, and locally sourced revenue, among others.
The LGUs that previously received funding support from the LGSF-FA must also submit a report on the projects to the DBM. Funds which remain unutilized as of Dec. 31, 2019 revert to the National Treasury.
Mr. Diokno also issued Local Budget Circular No. 116 on Jan. 29 which makes available some P2.59 billion to cities to support “the development of their respective open spaces.”
These include the enrichment of open space creating sustainable and livable urban environments through turfing, landscaping, and green space architecture; establishment of forest parks, arboretums and botanical gardens; transformation of streetscapes via the installation of eco-friendly street furniture and fixtures, and shading; augmentation of connectivity and accessibility, such as construction of eco-friendly bike lanes and walkways; and green infrastructure enhancements, among others.
The cities likewise require approval from the DBM before the funds are released. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan