MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Saturday reiterated his recommendation to the national government to provide local government units a one-time ‘Bayanihan’ financial assistance equivalent to their one-month Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) to allow them to respond quicker and more effectively to the needs of their constituents.

Go, a member of the Joint Oversight Committee created to oversee the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, said he understands the difficult responsibilities LGUs have to bear to promote the welfare of their constituents, especially with the ongoing fight against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) thus, his appeal for the provision of additional financial assistance to support the efforts of LGUs.

He said he worked with the Executive Branch for three years and worked for then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte Mayor from 1998 to 2016.

“I understand local government units that face daily problems of their constituents. Let us help augment their capabilities to respond to the people’s need,” he said in Filipino, adding that not all LGUs are created equal.

Smaller, poorer and far-flung LGUs with fewer tax collections, he added, may already be constrained for almost a month after Luzon was placed under an enhanced community quarantine. Other provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao also adopted their own quarantine measures. 

“Especially now that there are many people in remote areas to have yet to receive assistance from the national government. LGUs are having difficulty in addressing the needs of their constituents,” he added.

Since the new law has already given the government the appropriate authority and flexibility, he said it needs to immediately respond to this crisis hence, the release of a one-time ‘Bayanihan’ financial assistance would be beneficial to the people.

“I call on the members of the Executive Branch who have been my former colleagues. I trust the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Let us all act immediately in giving the social amelioration to our fellow Filipinos who need it badly,” he said.

Meanwhile, Go also pleaded to national and local leaders to act according to their conscience and ensure that the public funds entrusted to them reach Filipinos who need help the most in a transparent, quick, fair and equitable manner.

"Ang importante po dito hindi na po natin kayang isa-isahin o bantayan pa po sila, konsensya nalang po nila ang nakabantay po sa kanilang mga likod sa ganitong panahon (We cannot monitor each one. It is their conscience that guide them during this time of crisis),” he said.

He said people who are asked to stay home as a measure to stop the spread of Covid-19 will be able to buy food and other essentials with cash assistance.

Kung walang nagugutom, magiging mapayapa ang mga komunidad. Magiging masunurin ang mga kababayan natin sa ating mga patakaran. Kapag nagugutom at napapabayaan ang mga tao, magkakagulo talaga,” Go added.

He also urged everyone to set aside politics in the delivery of assistance.

Funds should be allocated fairly and equitably among the poorest of the poor, he added.

Go also advised the public to be patient and follow protocols in order to stop the spread of the virus and so that this crisis can be resolved the soonest. (PR)