DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday urged the 430 beneficiary local government units (LGUs) to utilize the PHP1.25-billion support fund to help them carry out devolved functions and services, particularly on projects that are most responsive and beneficial to their constituents.
DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said the amount allocated as the Local Government Support Fund-Growth Equity Fund (LGSF-GEF) is a safety net for lagging LGUs as they cope with the implementation of full devolution within their jurisdictions.

While there are LGUs that are ready to meet the demands of the devolution pursuant to the Supreme Court's (SC) Mandanas-Garcia ruling, he said some LGUs are facing barriers in their transition to full devolution.

“We commit to the full devolution mantra of ‘No LGU shall fall behind’. LGSF-GEF is a welcome assistance to our LGUs as we recognize that some of them need more assistance than others, kaya naman nagsusumikap kaming matulungan ang bawat LGU sa prosesong ito (this is why we are working hard to help every LGU in this process),” Abalos said in a statement.

He said the LGSF-GEF program will benefit 430 LGUs consisting of three provinces, seven cities, 150 municipalities, and 270 barangays from 2022 to 2023.

The LGSF-GEF was created to provide additional funding to LGUs that are identified as poor, disadvantaged, and lagging to support the implementation of their priority projects and services to be allocated to provinces (10 percent), cities (10 percent), municipalities (70 percent), and barangays (10 percent).

Abalos said the LGSF-GEF can be used for the implementation of LGUs’ infrastructure projects such as roads, evacuation centers, or water systems, or non-infrastructure projects such as financial assistance or medical assistance.

Since the cash allocation from the program was already released to beneficiary LGUs last July, he said that LGUs should now start pinning down the priority projects where the fund will be used.

He said LGUs cannot use the fund unless the project is eligible under the guidelines of LGSF-GEF stated in Local Budget Circular No. 146 issued by the Department of Budget and Management. (PNA)