In a statement, the Camarines Sur 1st District congressman said concerned Department of Budget and Management and Department of Public Works and Highways employees had intimated to him the payables for 2018 infrastructure projects had risen from P44 billion last November 2018 to more than P100 billion by yearend.
This “gargantuan amount of payable,” the lawmaker said, forces DPWH contractors to “cough up kickbacks just to be paid for completed infrastructure projects.”
Andaya added: “According to my sources, the release of payment from the DBM to DPWH varies per engineering district. Some districts were paid 10 percent only, others 30 percent...”
He said notices of cash allocation were given in lump sum and discretion was given to regional directors, so some contractors “have to resort to bribery.”
DPWH casuals were also not paid their salaries for three months and were only given payment last week, while 99 percent of the contractors were still not paid fully for the completed projects, according to Andaya.
A persistent failure to pay salaries can critically affect the daily lives of these employees and can also result in resign and claim constructive dismissal.
“In short, the DBM has resorted to rationing of payments. If there was rice shortage before, now there is cash shortage, thanks to Sec. (Benjamin) Diokno,” he added.
There was no immediately available reaction from Diokno.
Andaya warned that legitimate contractors might not continue bidding for infrastructure projects due to fears the government could not pay them on time and might make it to the point that banks will be demanding payments.
“A contractors’ revolt is possible. The Build, Build, Build Program may turn out to be Stop, Stop, Stop Program, courtesy of Sec. Diokno. Given this scenario, an economic slowdown is imminent,” Andaya added.
Andaya’s exposès against Diokno have yet to stop even as the 2019 national budget was already approved and ratified by both chambers of Congress.
The congressman has been accusing the Budget chief of “inserting” some P75 billion infrastructure fund in the proposed 2019 national budget without the knowledge of President Rodrigo Duterte, the DPWH, as well as district congressmen.
Diokno said the P75 billion should not be called “insertions” as these were “adjustments” that were part of the budget process.
He added this was a mere diversion from the “pork barrel” issue.
READ: 'Budget probe not over'
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