LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government was able to used P155 million from its annual budget over the past two years to help in enhancing the overall anti-Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) response and recovery of the municipality following the enormous effects of the pandemic on the lives of the residents and the state of the local economy.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda claimed that in 2020, the local government spent more than P80 million for its anti-COVID-19 response programs, projects and activities while last year, it also sacrificed some P75 million for similar initiatives that paved the way for the gradual and safe revival of the economy amidst the emerging threat of the more infectious and more transmissible Omicron variant.
He explained that bulk of the funds were used to pay health workers hired to manage the operation of the different established temporary treatment and monitoring facilities and those who helped in rolling out the government’s mass vaccination program aside from the assistance that had been provided to the residents during the implementation of the Luzonwide lockdown.
Further, Salda claimed that it is good that the national government provide local governments with their respective internal revenue allotment (IRA) in advance that paved the way for the municipal government to put into action the local anti-COVID response and recovery plan that is ensuring the gradual and safe revival of the local economy which was heavily impacted by the pandemic over the past 22 months.
While some priority development projects were affected by the realignment of some of the local funds to improve the COVID-19 response initiatives of the municipal government, the local chief executive underscored that municipal officials made sure that the basic services were not compromised.
With the declining number of COVID-19 cases in the municipality, he reported that the municipal government decided to temporarily close the operation of some of its isolation centers to help save on costs, but these facilities will still be available for operation when the need arises in case there will be surges in cases, especially if the more transmissible Omicron variant will arrive in the municipality.
He disclosed that in the event that there will be a need to rehire emergency health workers, the municipal government will be compelled to again shoulder the salaries of staff for contact tracing and the resumption of operation of the isolation centers that is why the local government is trying to make sure there are available funds that could be immediately appropriated for such purposes.
Salda appealed to the residents to sustain their compliance to the ongoing implementation of the minimum public health standards to prevent possible surge in cases that might have another impact on the local health care system. By HENT