Eight local government units in Region VI are named beneficiaries of funding assistance from Western Visayas’ share of the ER 1-94 funds to help them respond to COVID-19 in their respective areas.  These are the municipalities of Kalibo (Aklan), Pandan (Antique), Tapaz (Capiz), Jordan (Guimaras), Alimodian and Lambunao (Iloilo), and the cities of Himamaylan and Sagay (Negros Occidental).  The Regional Development Council (RDC) VI approved the projects of these eight LGU beneficiaries through RDC VI Resolution No. 36, s. 2020.

Republic Act 7638 or the Department of Energy (DOE) Act of 1992 mandated DOE to devise ways to give direct benefits to the affected province, city or municipality, as well as equitable preferential benefits to the region that hosts the energy resource and/or energy-generating facility.  At the outbreak of COVID-19, DOE issued Circular No. DC 2020-04-008, which rationalized the use of ER 1-94 funds to help LGUs align with the national government’s efforts in mitigating, if not containing, the transmission of COVID-19.  This means allowing eligible non-host LGUs to avail of such funds for the said purpose.  Non-host refers to LGUs with no energy resource and/or energy-generating facility present in their locality, but are nonetheless identified as eligible recipients of the region’s share of ER 1-94 based on criteria set by the RDC.  These criteria are:  (1) number of confirmed COVID-19 per data from DOH, as of August 2020; (2) magnitude of population at risk; and (3) district/provincial/ municipal hospital located along the national road.

The eight LGU beneficiaries are non-host LGUs.  Three of them – Jordan, Tapaz and Himamaylan – have already received the funds in the second semester of this year.  The funds will be used by the recipient health facilities of these LGUs to procure the needed medical supplies/equipment such as oxygen tanks, tents, hospital beds, suction machines, intubation kits, among others.  The five other LGUs are yet to receive the funds from DOE.

A Memorandum of Agreement on Project Implementation will be signed between the RDC VI and these non-host LGU beneficiaries.  With the release of these funds, the RDC VI looks forward to the upgrading of the health facilities located in these three non-host city and municipalities to enable them to respond better to the pandemic.  (Ma. Leah L. Letrero, PMED-VI)