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Cash problems? DBM has over P100B in DPWH payables and contractors want their money now

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Dozens of contractors are reportedly knocking on the doors of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to get their payments for over P100 billion worth of road and bridge projects completed since November last year.

A source in Congress said some contractors have expressed concern that the administration has ran out of cash to settle obligations for DPWH projects that average roughly P40 billion per month.

The Congress source said cash troubles started in the November billing and the administration has not yet paid its past due obligations up to this month. The contractors were reportedly worried about getting the money because neither DBM nor the DPWH indicated when they would pay up.

The source said this was the first time in two decades these cash
troubles have emerged to plague the government. The last time the
government had similar cash problems was during the Estrada
administration when coincidentally Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno was also in charge of dispensing government funds.

The source said the biggest concern was whether the government was short of cash because of failure to meet revenue collection targets in 2018 with the introduction of tax measures under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law and alleged inability to curb smuggling.

Most contractors have rushed their project completion to beat the year-end deadline in order to collect their money. The source said what contractors did not anticipate was that the government would have no cash to pay its obligations.