February 29, 2024

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Local government units that are faced with calamities such as the African swine fever (ASF) and Covid-19 may use their calamity fund or their savings from the fund, an official of the Commission on Audit said, Wednesday.
During the Benguet provincial, Baguio City and Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council meeting, State Auditor IV Ignacio Panit Jasmin Jr., said 30 percent of the quick response fund from an LGU’s annual calamity fund can be used to address the ASF and the Covid-19 threats.
The calamity fund is divided into 30 percent quick response fund (QRF) and 70 percent investment allocation for mitigation, prevention, and preparedness programs.
He said 70 percent is allotted for specific programs and projects while 30 percent can be used for urgent expenditures.
Aside from the QRF, the calamity trust fund which is saved from the last four years can be used to provide livelihood aid. He said the fund can also be used to buy supplies like hand sanitizers or masks.
COA Circular 2012-002, issued on Sept. 12, 2012, states that the local DRRM fund can be used for pre-disaster preparedness programs; for post-disaster activities; payment of insurance premiums on property if indemnity includes damages or loss due to fire, earthquake, storm of other casualties and on personnel accident insurance of accredited community disaster volunteers; and for relief and recovery programs in communities or areas stricken by disasters, calamities, epidemics or complex emergencies.
Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas said they have used their trust fund from their savings from the calamity fund to help those affected by the ASF.
A total of 37 hog raisers in Benguet suffered losses due to culling of pigs found within the one-kilometer radius from ground zero of the first ASF case.
A total of 532 pigs were culled in Tuba, Itogon and La Trinidad after a pig was found positive of the ASF.
Diclas said livelihood aid will be given to the affected hog raisers.
“Yung quick res-ponse fund na hindi nagamit sa buong taon magiging trust fund ang gagamitin pag may dumating na kalamidad para hindi na natin kailangang mag-declare ng state of calamity,” Diclas said.
Provincial Veterinarian Meriam Tiongan said there are three laboratory-confirmed ASF cases in the province, which prompted them to de-populate, applying the “1-7-10” protocol.
Office of the Civil Defense Cordillera Director Albert Mogol said the region’s proactive stance in battling emerging and re-emerging illnesses of animals and humans makes the region one step ahead of emergencies.
He said local governments aided by the Department of Health and the joint task force created for emerging and re-emerging diseases in 2019 allowed the region to have a faster response and coordination of stakeholders in times of emergency.
“The postponement of the Panagbenga 2020 is an example that led to positive results because CAR remains Covid-19 free,” he said. – PNA