Davao City’s COVID-related expenses: minimum of 476-M pesos

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 May) – How much has the city government spent in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A minimum of 476 million pesos, Mayor Sara Duterte said on Monday afternoon over Davao City Disaster Radion (DCDR 87.5), in response to MindaNews’ query.

She said 476 million represents one month of the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA)  and under the Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities (BGCM), they are “required to spend it all sa COVID-19.”

The city hall of Davao City. MindaNews file photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan Heal as One Act,  provides for a one-time BGCM equivalent to one month Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share, to boost the capacity of the cities and municipalities in responding to COVID-19.

Aside from the BGCM fund, “daghan pa” (there’s more), the mayor said, adding some amounts have been charged to the peace and order fund of the mayor’s office, public enhancement service fund, trust fund which is from the cash donations given to the city, and other small sources of funds.

According to the Local Budget Circular No. 125 of the Department of Budget and Management issued on April 7, the allocation for Davao City for the BGCM is 462,047,664 pesos.

The mayor said the biggest chunk of the funds went to food. “Pinakadako is food” (the biggest is food).

She promised to make available data on the use of funds “tomorrow” (Tuesday).

“Pinakadako didto pagkaon” (The biggest amount was spent on food) which she said includes the rations given out by the City Social Welfare and Development Office and food for “members of the COVID-19 work effort,” such as those in the security sector, the Davao City Police Office, Task Force Davao, City Health Office, 911, Quick Reaction Team, “tanan-tanan tanan makita ninyo sila nagatrabaho” (all who are working) since the city was placed on quarantine.

Davao City was under community quarantine from March 15 to April 4, enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from 9 p.m. of April 4 to 11:59 p.m. of May 15 and general community quarantine (GCQ) from 12:01 a.m. on May 16.

According to the DBM’s Local Budget Circular No. 125, the BGCM is to be “exclusively used” for the following COVID-19-related programs, projects, activities, and expenses, subject to existing procurement, budgeting, accounting and auditing rules and regulations:

  • Procurement of personal protective equipment
  • Procurement of equipment, reagents, and kits for COVID-19 testing;
  • Procurement of medicines and vitamins;
  • Procurement of hospital equipment and supplies;
  • Procurement of disinfectants, sprayers, disinfection tents and other disinfecting supplies and misting equipment;
  • Food, transportation (including fuel), and accommodation expenses of medical personnel and other LGU personnel directly involved in the implementation of COVID-19-related programs, projects, and activities (PPAs)
  • Food assistance and other relief goods for affected households;
  • Expenses for the construction/repair/lease/rental of additional space/building to accommodate COVID-19 patients and persons under monitoring/investigation;
  • Expenses for the operation of stand-alone/mobile testing laboratory;
  • Expenses for the purchase/rental of tents for temporary shelters of the homeless;
  • Expenses for training of personnel in the conduct of COVID-19 testing and other related trainings; and
  • Other necessary COVID-19-related PPAs and expenses.

The released amount for BGCM shall be used by the recipient cities and municipalities for the duration of the State of Calamity which President Rodrigo Duterte declared through Proclamation No. 929 dated 16 March 2020.

The DBM said funds which remain unutilized after the lifting of the State of Calamity shall be reverted to the National Treasury by the recipient cities and municipalities. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)