The Office of the President has approved the release of P30.824 billion “Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities” to boost their capacities to respond to the needs of their constituents amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said in a press statement Tuesday.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the one-time grant to cities and municipalities is equivalent to one month of their internal revenue allotment (IRA), which they can use for their COVID-19 response and relief efforts.

“Nauunawaan ng national government ang malaking hamon na hinaharap ng local government units (LGUs) sa pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng kanilang mga constituents sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis. Sa pamamagitan ng Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities, magkakaroon na ng karagdagang kapasidad ang ating mga LGUs na bumili ng mga kagamitan at tulungan ang mga taong lubos na apektado ng krisis na ito,” said Año.

Año said President Rodrigo Duterte’s speedy approval of the fund was based on the appeal of the local government units (LGUs) through Sen. Bong Go, who first proposed the measure on their behalf.

Año said the funds should be utilized for anti-COVID programs, projects, and activities such as relief goods for low-income and vulnerable households; procurement of personal protective equipment for frontline service providers, medicines and vitamins, hospital equipment and supplies; disinfectants and related equipment; and tents for temporary shelter of the homeless, among others.

He urged cities and municipalities to ensure that the Bayanihan Grant is utilized properly and wisely and to maximize it for the benefit of their constituents.

“Naniniwala ako na mas alam at ramdam ninyo ang pangangailangan sa inyong sinasakupan kaya siguruhin po sana natin na gagamitin natin ng maayos ang pondong ito para sa kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan,” said Año.

He also reiterated his call to shun politics in this time of crisis and ensure that help is given even regardless of the political affiliations of barangays. He also reminded them of the “No Epal” provision in the guidelines released by the government in the distribution of relief goods.

“Ngayong panahon ng Kuwaresma, ang kailangan po natin ay magtulungan at magkaisa para sama-sama tayong makabangon sa krisis na ito. Hindi po ito panahon ng pagbibida at politika kundi panahon ng paglilingkod at pagkakaisa,” he said.

He also urged the public to do their part in helping combat the COVID-19 crisis by obeying the guidelines on the enhanced community quarantine set by the government and cooperating with authorities.

Año said that in order for the country to rise above a crisis of this scope and magnitude, the people should be committed and united to tread the path of cooperation, healing, and recovery.

“Ngayon po natin patunayan ang lakas, galing at tibay nating mga Pilipino laban sa anumang hamon. Magkaisa tayo laban sa COVID-19,” he said.

Año said that the Bayanihan Grant will be sourced from the discontinued projects of some government agencies under Republic Act 11465 or the FY 2020 General Appropriations Act.

In a Memorandum to Department of Budget and Management Secretary Wendel E. Avisado, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea has already informed DBM of the President’s approval of the Bayanihan grant and ordered the immediate release of the funds to cities and municipalities

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