Scammers target LGUs

June 30, 2021 Jun I. Legaspi 215 views

THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) warned local government units (LGUs) anew against dealing with unscrupulous individuals offering assistance to access over P13 billion worth of funds to finance local development and infrastructure projects that are part of the economic stimulus program of government.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año said he has received reports from regional and field offices that swindlers are out to dupe LGUs into believing that they can help facilitate access to the Local Government Support Fund-Financial Assistance to Local Government Units (LGSF-FALGU) in exchange for favors/commission or a fee.

He advised LGUs not to transact with any fixer, scammer, or third-party entity but go directly to the Regional Offices of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in applying for the said fund.

“Let’s protect government funds. We are issuing a warning to the LGUs against third-party entities who are engaging in illegal transactions intending to access the LGSF-FALGU fund. Pangalagaan at protektahan natin ang pondo’t kaban ng bayan,” Año said.

“Makipag-ugnayan po tayo sa regional offices ng Department of Budget and Management (DBM) lamang. Hindi po kailangan ng ‘fixer’ o third party entity para sa pagproseso ng pondong ito. Sundin lamang po ang panuntunan ng DBM,” he added.

A total of P13.586 billion LGSF-FALGU fund was allocated for 2021 with 319 LGUs green-lighted to access P2.93-billion, which accounts for 22% of the program fund for the year.

Under the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA) or Republic Act (RA) No. 11518, LGUs are encouraged to avail of the LGSF-FALGU fund for their local infrastructure and development projects to boost their local economies as part of the economic stimulus program of the government.

Año said all applications should be submitted directly to the DBM as stated in Local Budget Circular (LBC) No. 131 or the guidelines on the release and utilization of the local government support fund-other financial assistance to LGUs in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 GAA or RA 11518.

Section 3.11 of the said circular underscores the prohibition on the involvement of third parties in the preparation, submission, or facilitation of requests: “It is understood that only requests prepared, signed, and submitted by the LCEs shall be evaluated by the DBM. Requests that are shown to have been prepared and/or submitted by third parties, e.g fixers, middlemen, and facilitators, shall immediately be denied.”

Meanwhile, the DILG chief directed all DILG regional directors to monitor and submit to the DILG Central Office (CO) reports of illegal transactions together with the names of groups or individuals involved in these illegal acts.

“We will not take this sitting down at titiyakin natin na ang mga indibidwal o grupo na ito ay mapaparusahan ayon sa ating batas,” Año said.

Under the DBM circular, LGUs are to submit their requests, together with the documentary requirements, either to the DBM Regional Offices (ROs) concerned or to the DBM Central Office which shall evaluate and approve the projects.

Among the infrastructure and other projects covered under LGSF-FALGU are local roads and/or bridges, public markets, slaughterhouses, multi-purpose buildings/halls, multi-purpose pavements, drainage canals, sea wall/river wall, water system projects including level 1 stand-alone water points, evacuation centers, public parks, fish ports, and post-harvest facilities composed of ice plant and cold storage facilities.

Meanwhile, Año said that LGUs who have received LGSF-FALGU funds from 2016 to 2020 must submit their report on fund utilization and the status of program/project implementation. In case of unobligated balances, concerned LGUs must present certification and proof of reversion to verify that the balances have already been returned to the National Treasury.