DILG and DBM issue new guidelines on the use of 20% IRA; disaster-related projects now covered

A May 20, 2011 press release by the Department of the Interior and Local Government

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Friday issued new guidelines to local government units (LGUs) on the use of their 20% Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for development projects.

In a Joint DILG-DBM Memorandum Circular 2011-1 issued to all governors, city and municipal mayors, Sanggunians, punong barangays, and other concerned officials, Secretaries Jesse Robredo of DILG and Florencio Abad of DBM enumerated the projects covered by the 20 percent development fund which now include projects to address and respond to natural and man-made disasters and calamities.

“We saw the need to appropriate funds not just for social, economic and environment development but also for those that will help LGUs prepare and respond during disasters and calamities,” said Robredo.

Under the guidelines, the 20 percent IRA can now be used for the construction or rehabilitation of evacuation centers; purchase or repair of area-wide calamity related alarm or warning system; purchase or repair of appropriate calamity-related rescue operations equipment such as inflatable boats, breathing apparatus, extraction tools, fire extinguishers, chainsaws, two-way handheld radios and the like.

LGUs can also use the fund for the purchase and development of land for relocation of victims of calamities; reforestation and urban greening; implementation of flood and erosion control projects; and other environmental projects.

Robredo said the new guidelines clearly enumerated the priority projects that can be funded by the 20 percent IRA to ensure transparency and accountability of LGUs in undertaking development projects.

Other projects include the construction and rehabilitation of health centers, rural health units or hospitals, and purchase of medical equipment; construction or rehabilitation of local government-owned potable water supply system; construction or rehabilitation of communal irrigation or water impounding system and purchase of post harvest facilities; construction and rehabilitation of local roads or bridges, multipurpose hall; and capital expenditures for economic development projects, among others.

On the other hand, the DILG Secretary said that items that are not covered and should not be paid out of the 20 percent IRA are administrative expenses such as cash gifts, bonuses, medical assistance, food allowance, uniform, meetings, supplies, communication, water and light, petroleum products, and the like.

“LGUs cannot also use the fund to pay for salaries, travelling expenses, seminar and conference fees, construction and repair of administrative offices, purchase of office furniture and equipment and maintenance and repair of motor vehicles,” he said.

“Every local chief executive (LCE) should ensure that the fund is optimally used for development purposes,” he said, as he warned LCEs of administrative sanctions for the misuse of the 20 percent IRA beyond those prescribed by law under the Local Government Code and other applicable laws.

Robredo said provinces, cities and municipalities should furnish the DILG regional offices of the copies of their annual investment program containing the projects to be funded out of the 20 percent fund.