THE Department of Budget and Management said a P13.585-billion support fund for local government units (LGUs) may now also be tapped for priority use in online education and pandemic-related programs.

Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado’s Local Budget Circular No. 131 dated Jan. 8, detailing the rules for releasing the Local Government Support Fund-Financial Assistance (LGSF-FA).

The fund’s priority uses now include education, health and social protection programs in the wake of the pandemic. These include the distribution of learning modules, emergency health measures and livelihood and employment aid initiatives.

According to the circular, published Tuesday, other priority uses are the construction and rehabilitation of local roads, bridges, public markets, slaughterhouses, buildings, pavement, drainage canals, seawalls, water systems, evacuation centers, public parks, fish ports and post-harvest facilities.

The fund can also be tapped to buy ambulances, trucks, mini dump trucks, cars and multicabs. It can also fund street lighting or barangay electrification; and to buy medical equipment.

Other eligible uses are medical, burial, transportation, food, cash for work and educational assistance for low-income households.

LGUs have to meet a minimum standard obligation rate, which is based on their utilization rate of the funds received previously. The norm is 70% usage for LGSF-FA funds received last year, and 100% for funds received between 2016 and 2019.

LGUs have until June 30 to submit their applications and supporting documents. — Beatrice M. Laforga