COA, DILG remind Central Visayas LGUs on calamity funds use

October 14, 2009 9:32 am 

CEBU CITY, Oct. 14 – Officials of the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have reminded local government units (LGUs) in Central Visayas that calamity funds may only be used for calamity-related expenses, either for preparation or rehabilitation.

DILG 7 Director Pedro Noval Jr. said a declaration of a state of calamity by the local legislative council is necessary before officials can tap their calamity funds for disaster preparedness or relief operations within their locality.

”They should not divert the funds and use it for other purposes,” Noval said.

In Cebu City, some P10 million in calamity funds has been set aside in preparation for typhoons.

The funds will be used for the evacuation of families living in coastal areas and riverbanks and the purchase of rubber boats for disaster response.

The Local Government Code mandates LGUs to set aside five percent of the estimated revenue from regular sources as annual lump sum appropriations for relief, rehabilitation reconstruction and other works or services in connection with calamities during the budget year.

However, the funds can be utilized only in the area or portion of the LGU or other areas declared under a state of calamity by the President or the local legislative body.

The DBM-DILG joint circular dated March 20, 2003 states that the calamity funds may also be used for disaster preparedness, other pre-disaster activities and mitigation measures.

Among other things, the funds may be tapped for medical assistance, death and funeral benefits to the victims of disasters as well as financial assistance and other services for medical, rescue and relief workers who have been tasked to attend to the victims.

Preparation of relocation sites, disaster preparedness training and other pre-disaster activities may also be funded by the calamity funds.

According to the DBM website, the calamity funds may also be used to purchase medicines but it cannot be used to purchase motor vehicles, including ambulances.

Lawyer Chona Labrague, officer-in-charge of COA 7 regional legal and adjudication office, also urged the LGUs to follow all COA guidelines and circulars on the accounting of the use of the Local Calamity Fund appropriations, to avoid disallowances in the future.

”The calamity funds may be used for disaster preparedness, rehabilitation works or repair of roads damaged by calamities. But if you use the calamity funds for the construction of roads or bridges, COA will not allow that,” she said. (PNA) LAP/EB/re


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