Taking its cue from the national government’s order for a stepped-up local drive to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the provincial government of Palawan on Friday declared the entire province under a “State of Calamity”.
The measure allows the provincial government to access some P150 million in calamity funds, in addition to a separate P100 million from a trust fund that it plans to throw into the campaign against the deadly virus.
Board Member Leoncio Ola, chair of the appropriations committee, said the resolution was pushed by Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez to allow the province to mobilize for its campaign.
Ola said the trust fund was put up in 2019 from unused portions of their calamity fund budget.
“Ang trust fund ay ito ang fund mula doon sa five percent na hindi nagamit [last year] kasi hindi pwedeng gamitin sa iba except calamity. Kaya in-unlock din natin ito kasi pwede naman gamitin anytime,” Ola said.
He said the provincial government’s funds for the COVID-19 campaign will be used primarily to provide assistance the communities and to procure equipment related to the program.
“Basta lahat ng kailangan natin [paggastusan] during this time ay dito kukunin. Kailangan natin ma-address lahat kaya kailangan tayo magprovide. Walang amount doon sa pagdeclare namin ng state of calamity kaya ina-unlock lang natin ang available funds na mayron tayo kasi mahirap madetermine kung magkano ang kakailanganin ng province to address covid-19,” Ola said.
The provincial board also approved a supplemental budget of P21 million collected from the hospitals under the provincial government.
He said that this will also be utilized to intensify the government’s response against COVID-19.
“Yung mga na collect natin sa kanila ay ibabalik din natin sa kanila dahil nga dito sa coronavirus. Kung sino ang may malaking collections ay sila rin ang may malalaking makukuha,” Ola said.
“This is not from the calamity fund but this is a collection from different hospitals. Therefore, this amount will be used by these hospitals for better response,” he said.
Vice Governor Dennis Socrates also said that each municipality will also need to declare similar measures in order to use their calamity fund.
“There is a directive from DILG for provinces as well as municipalities to pass their own declaration of the calamity in order to use the quick response portion of the calamity fund. Ang mga munisipyo ay kailangan din magdeclare ng state of calamity to use the funds except for barangay,” he said.