CONTRACTORS of government infrastructure projects will be included in capacity building training by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Eastern Visayas in preparation for massive construction activities in 2019.

DPWH Eastern Visayas Director Edgar Tabacon admitted on February 27 that the limited capacity of contractors is a major setback to their goal to ensure timely completion of projects.

"What else can we do to increase our accomplishment rate if contractors have very limited capacity to implement projects?" Tabacon asked.

This year, the DPWH regional office has invited contractors to attend trainings on conducting surveys, preparing project designs, and making plans. These trainings were originally designed for DPWH personnel, Tabacon said.

“The most challenging part is the limited capacity of contractors. We have to help them improve on some technical aspects of construction activities because they are so dependent on us to comply some required documents,” Tabacon said.

He also asked local contractors to buy equipment and hire more engineers in preparation for more roads and bridges projects in 2019.

The DPWH regional office and 13 district offices in Eastern Visayas proposed P70 billion for next year, more than double than the P32 billion approved outlay for 2018.

In 2017, the infrastructure agency only attained 70 percent accomplishment with 233 projects still ongoing. The completion rate is way below than the 85 percent annual target.

In a press briefing last January 27 in Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered DPWH contractors to finish delayed projects in 30 days or face contracts cancellation.

To ensure that there will be no unfinished projects starting 2019, all projects will have an implementation time frame of 300 days or less.

“Big projects will be implemented by phase so that there would be unfinished project by the end of every year,” Tabacon said.

The strategy is in compliance to annual cash-based budget starting 2019.

According to Memorandum 129 of the Department of Budget and Management, agencies can only incur contractual obligations and disburse payments for goods delivered and services rendered and inspected within the year, with an extended payment period of three months.

This will effectively limit agencies to submit budget proposals reflecting payment of goods and services that will “actually be delivered for the year,” said the DBM.

This shift is expected to quicken program delivery, as well as strengthen the “focus and accountability of government” as target outputs of government programs become more clearly linked to their appropriated budget. (PNA)