Lanao del Norte Provincial Governor Imelda ‘Angging’ Quibranza-Dimaporo joins the 1st Special Online Video Conference for the members of the League of Provinces of the Philippines to discuss issues and concerns relating to COVID-19, on April 14, 2020.

Governor Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. of the Province of Marinduque, the LPP National President, actively facilitated the video conference and carefully listens to suggestions, ideas, and queries of the Governors, especially on the grant by the National Government to Provinces regarding the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

National Chairman, Governor Dakila Carlo E. Cua of Quirino Province, informed the members that after confirmation from Secretary Wendel Avisado of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), all provinces will be granted ½ month of IRA for utilization of COVID-19 measures except as financial grants.

The Guidelines issued to Cities and Municipalities are presumably the same as those of the Provinces unless DBM will release a different Circular.

One of the concerns of the Governors is the utilization of government funds not to be used for purchasing rapid test kits was also addressed by Governor Velasco Jr. The LPP President stated that based on the Guidelines on the Release and Utilization of the Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities (BGCM), Local Budget Circular No. 125 of DBM, Section 3.5 Guidelines-The BGCM shall be exclusively used by the cities and municipalities for the following COVID-19 related programs, projects and activities (PPAs) and expenses, and Paragraph 3.5.2, specifies the Procurement of Equipment, reagents, and kits for COVID-19 testing.

Governor Imelda ‘Angging’ Quibranza-Dimaporo, the Treasurer of LPP, humbly informed the august body that with regards to the Overseas Filipino Workers stranded in Luzon, the Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte allows its OFWs to come home, though assured by the Office of Civil Defense 10 through Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, that these OFWs have passed through the Bureau of Quarantine and have not shown any COVID-19 symptoms after the protocol of 14-day quarantine period.

Governor Angging understands the feeling of the OFWs who wanted to go home and to see their families again, however, the Provincial Chief Executive of the Province of Lanao del Norte, still insist to place themselves under quarantine for another 14 days and coordinate with the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) and their respective Municipal Government to ensure safety and protect the interest of the general public.

Also, Governor Angging, requested assistance from President Velasco Jr. for the Department of Health to provide additional testing kits to Lanao del Norte and also to other provinces to fast track the testing of Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs), and especially those Persons Under Investigations (PUIs).

Governor Claude P. Bautista of Davao Occidental agreed to Governor Dimaporo’s request and urged that testing should be done in the province, a way to help decongest the national government’s workload, particularly the Department of Health in determining COVID-19 positive persons and those who are not.

Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano of Misamis Oriental also suggested that in the next meeting, Secretaries or Undersecretaries should be invited to help the Governors understand the stand of the Departments, particularly the DOH to directly respond to questions or queries raised by the Governors.