MAASIN CITY, May 7 (PIA) -- Funds drawn from coffers of peace and order council of local government units (LGUs) may be spent for programs, projects, activities (PPAs) intended to fight Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This was based on a new directive of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“Aside from the regular DRRM funds, peace and order funds can also be used, as long as this is backed by a resolution,” Jhonel Anavesa, personnel for operations at the DILG Southern Leyte Provincial Office, said during the media briefing Tuesday at the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) here.

He was referring to the latest DILG issuance, Memo Circular 2020-079, which authorized POCs of barangays, municipalities, cities and provinces, to tap available money from the peace and order council for procurement of relief goods as well as medical supplies for COVID-19 fight, supported by a resolution.

The guidelines, however, did not specify how much percentage of the POC funds can be used, Anovesa said.

Geraldine Maquelabit, DILG provincial director, explained that the first source of funding was the disaster fund, where a memorandum issued allowed 30 percent for COVID-related expenses realigned from pre-COVID annual investment plan.

“Before the money is spent, it must be clear what should it be spent for,” Maquelabit clarified as the overriding principle on changes of plans in reaction to the virus challenge.

She said the second funding source was the Bayanihan grant, where each municipal, city LGUs got one month bonus share of their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), while provinces received one-half of their IRA monthly share, and the latest was the peace and order public safety funds.

On the strategies especially in the handling of relief goods to people in different localities affected by the quarantine protocols, Maquelabit said this was the discretion of concerned LGUs on how best to manage or conduct the distribution to their constituents.

In a related development, 11 municipalities in the province have completed the special amelioration program (SAP) distribution, according to DILG cluster head Roma Demeterio.

“These municipalities include Anahawan, Hinundayan, Libagon, Tomas Oppus, Silago, Liloan, Limasawa, Macrohon, Padre Burgos, San Ricardo, and San Juan,” Demeterio said. (ldl/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)