AAFAF reroutes $4 million for gender violence prevention
By John McPhaul
Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF by its Spanish acronym) Executive Director Omar Marrero announced on Monday the creation of a program to provide assistance to survivors of gender violence that will take $4 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The CRF Fund Distribution Oversight Committee approved the guidelines and the allocation of funds from the CRF reserve to the newly created Assistance to Survivors of Gender-Based Violence program, Marrero said in a written statement.
As part of the program, $2 million was initially allocated to the Office of the Women’s Advocate and $2 million to the PARE Committee, both of which support survivors of domestic violence and abuse. The creation of the program ensures that the use of the pandemic response funds meets the objective of addressing the rise in cases of gender-based violence while complying with federal guidelines and requirements.
The allocation is in addition to the $7 million that the federal Financial Oversight and Management Board recently approved at the request of the Government of Puerto Rico to continue fighting violence against women.
“At this historical juncture that Puerto Rico is going through, and in keeping with the executive order of Gov. [Pedro] Pierluisi that declared a state of emergency due to the increase in cases of domestic violence, the Government has decided to allocate additional funds from the CARES Act to support victims of gender violence and potentially save lives,” said Marrero, who later elaborated: “We are committed to the well-being and health of Puerto Rican women. This allocation of funds will cover necessary expenses related to COVID-19 and the increase in cases of domestic violence as a result of the pandemic.”
The distribution of program funds will be subject to the strictest standards to ensure compliance with federal regulations and best practices, Marrero said. The guidelines can be accessed on the AAFAF website at www.aafaf.pr.gov.