Fernando: After ‘Build, Build, Build’, gov’t must now “Pay, Pay, Pay” P128-B to contractors

Published February 26, 2021, 10:45 PM

by Ben Rosario

To help struggling suppliers and contractors recover from the devastating economic effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, government must learn to “Pay, Pay, Pay”, Deputy Minority Leader and Marikina City Rep. Bayani F. Fernando said Friday, February 26.

(Philippine News Agency)

Fernando took the cudgels for contractors and suppliers as he noted that government’s outstanding obligations to them have run to tens of billions of pesos. 

With over P127 billion owed contractors, mostly from the ‘Build, build, build’ infrastructure program, it is now time for government to “pay, pay, pay,” he said.

“Infrastructure projects have always been the panacea of all governments to address recession as it is productive and a good investment. It is never a waste of money,” Fernando pointed out.

“However, BUILD, BUILD, BUILD must go with PAY, PAY, PAY,” the opposition lawmaker stressed.

He called on those processing the disbursement of payments to goods and services already delivered or completed by contractors to “exert effort and expedite the processing of payments to keep production going and stave off closures amid the economic recession.”

Fernando, former chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority, explained that the “guaranty/security deposits” payable represent the 10 percent retention fee withheld from progress billing payments to suppliers and contractors.

“In 2019 alone, ten government agencies including the DPWH, DOTr and DepEd posted P127.9-B financial liabilities for goods and services rendered to them as per COA audit reports,” Fernando said.

“They also withheld P53.2-B in guaranty/security deposits.  I am sure these amounts will balloon once their liabilities for the year 2020 are posted,” he disclosed.

Fernando claimed that the government has the money to work with under the 2020-2021 national budgets amounting to P4.1 trillion and P4.506 trillion, respectively

“In 2020, our budget for Personnel Services was P1.184.8-B.  Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) was P2.085.9-B and Capital Outlay was P829.4-B.  These budget allocations were all increased under the 2021 budget,” said the former MMDA chief.

For 2021, Fernando said PS grew to P1.316.3 billion; MOOE to P2.237.4 billion and CO to P952.3 billion.

“This huge amount of money is budget and must be at hand by now to promptly pay obligations,” the Marikina solon said.