The Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), through Director Ma. Pamela Quizon joined discussions on improving utilization of Special Education Fund (SEF) and tapping credit financing to facilitate local recovery programs given the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19).

In the Webinar on the Utilization of SEF hosted by E-Net Philippines, Director Quizon advised LGUs to maximize SEF’s utilization and disbursements for education-related expenses, especially in preparation for the learning continuity plan, and expanding the use and purpose of SEF to be made more attune to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

She further underscored the benefits of the Proposed Real Property Valuation Reform under Package 3 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), strengthening real property tax collection for a higher fund distribution on public education.

Towards the end of the discussion, Ms Jessica Reyes-Cantos of Social Watch Philippines voiced her support for the Package, “It is best to have a hard look at the Real Property Valuation, which fund the SEF – we support the Real Property Valuation Reform Proposal of the Department of Finance”.

Director Quizon also presented the available revenue generation options for LGUs to fund local recovery programs and initiatives during the Webinar on Facilitating Local Recovery and Rehabilitation in Light of the Covid-19 hosted by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in partnership with the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP). She succinctly discussed the fiscal impact of Covid-19 on local finance and how credit financing would help LGUs fund transition and recovery efforts.

Likewise, ULAP President Governor Dakila Carlo Cua introduced their initiative with Land Bank of the Philippines, the Restoration and Invigoration package for a Self-sufficient Economy towards UPgrowth for LGUs (RISE UP LGUs) lending program. This economic stimulus loan facility will support LGUs in the implementation of their local economic recovery plans.

Lastly, Dir. Quizon advised LGUs to use credit financing in funding Covid-19 related programs and activities as this will help catalyze the development of LGU as an active partner of the central government in nation-building and addressing Covid-19 needs during the Webinar on Funding Disaster Preparedness Amidst Covid-19, hosted by the Office of Civil Defense and The Asia Foundation.

The webinars provided an avenue to elevate concerns and recommendations on utilizing SEF and guided the LGUs on the transition to the new normal amidst the current pandemic.