Commission on Audit (COA) Assistant Commissioner Lourdes M. Castillo, Chairperson of COA’s Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point System Technical Working Group, and Director Fortunata M. Rubico, Chairperson of COA GAD Secretariat, joined the Philippine delegation to the 61st Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) from 13 to 17 March 2017.
The 61st Session of the UNCSW held at the UN headquarters in New York on 13 to 24 March 2017 centered on “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work” as its priority theme. The conference also discussed challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls as well as the emerging issue of empowerment of indigenous women.
The UNCSW is a global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. Its annual sessions include ministerial segments with round tables and other high-level interactive dialogues, general discussions, and interactive and expert panel discussions. Stakeholders organize side events to draw attention to critical aspects of the work on gender equality.
The Commission on Audit (COA) thru the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) has launched programs for Campus Recruitment I Career Fair as part of the initiatives under "Strengthen Capacity and Capability" of the COA Strategic Plan for 2016- 2022 which aims to intensify the recruitment process for potential recruits in the fields of Accounting/auditing, legal, information technology and other fields of discipline.
The HRMO, under the -leadership of Director Noel B. Clemente, received an overwhelming response from the country's leading universities and organizations after having a persistent communication with them on possible partnership. Beginning mid of 2016, the team led by Ms. Imelda V. Clave, Officer-In-Charge, Human Resource Policy Studies and Standard Services, already toured several prominent universities. It kicked off at the San Beda College, Manila on October 2016 with over a hundred attendees and University of Sto. Tomas with about nine hundred (900) attendees. Both schools have participants from other universities and colleges within the Metro Manila. It was followed by a 3-day job fair activity at the Ateneo De Manila University - School of Law on January 2017 where Director Carmelita T. Sanchez, Legal Services Sector, shared her knowledge about the legal profession and benefits from working in the Commission.
Aside from collaborating with learning institutions, the HRMO also participated in two Career Fairs conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission which coincided with the Oath Taking Ceremonies of nearly 5,000 new CPA board passers.
Among the entities from private and public sectors present in said activities are Bureau of Treasury, Land Bank, Development Bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Office of the President, Robinsons Land, JGS Petrochemicals, Malayan Insurance, SM Prime Holdings, Accenture, Grant Thornton International Ltd., Primer Group of Companies, Empire East Holdings, well-known law offices and more than 18 other institutions.
Additionally, the HRMO team also visited Review Centers to invite high potential CPAs/Lawyers to consider joining the COA workforce.
These Campus Recruitment activities are a step up of the campaign to introduce COA to the new talents and drum up interest to make it one of the top prospective employers among the applicants.
The Philippines-Australia Public Financial Management Program (PFMP) is assisting the Philippine government to start shifting from obligation-based appropriations to annual cash based appropriations as a disciplined measure to better manage public resources and deliver on its promise to double infrastructure spending and ramp up social sector spending.
The PFM principals comprised of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) and the Commission on Audit (COA), have endorsed the new reform strategy of introducing cash appropriations.
The foundation of this reform is to shift the focus of the budget system away from incurring obligations to spending cash.
Obligations are intentions, not expenditures. The current system of obligation-based appropriations does not promote disciplined execution of the annual budget,” said DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno. This is the essence of a sound public financial management or PFM system: an annual budget that is promptly funded, implemented and accounted for.
The Government has committed to spend 7% of the country’s GDP on infrastructure following its aggressive mandate to “Build, Build, Build”—a program aimed at ushering in the “Golden Age of Infrastructure” for the Philippines.
“The political priority of the infrastructure agenda gives this PFM reform a hard edge. It is about making the PFM system fit for purpose,” said Gary Ellem, PFMP Team Leader. “We think this is a sound reform that is timely and will help the Government of the Philippines deliver. DBM, BTr and COA are right behind this. Although this reform is a significant change, it builds on key reforms that PFMP has supported in recent years like the TSA, BTMS and PREXC,” he added.
The Treasury Single Account (TSA) is a cash management system that consolidates government accounts and optimizes utilization of the government’s cash resources. The Budget and Treasury Management System (BTMS) is an integrated, web-based financial management information system that covers budget execution and reporting. Meanwhile, the PREXC restructures an agency’s budget around programs to promote a better focus on policy and performance. The move to annual cash based appropriations builds on all three reforms as the basis for a sound, transparent and efficient use of public funds. (contributed by the Public Financial Management Program)
The United Nations formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 and already the Commission on Audit (COA) moved to educate its auditors to plan for the audit of eventual Philippine programs under the SDG roadmap.
COA held a briefing on the efforts of the Philippine Statistical System on Gender Statistics and the SDGs on 9 March 2017 at the Professional Development Center as part of its national women’s month celebration. Assistant National Statistician Wilma A. Guillen of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) conducted the briefing.
Assistant National Statistician Wilma A. Guillen of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) briefs COANs on PSA efforts on gender statistics and the Sustainable Development Goals on 9 March 2017.
Officially known as Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDGs are the result of a consultation process among UN member states, civil society and other stakeholders and composed of 17 goals, 169 unique targets, and 230 indicators with focus on economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. The Philippines is one of 193 UN member states who committed to the 17 goals in order to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change in the span of 15 years.
Guillen said the member states, including the Philippines, will develop indicators at regional, national and sub-national levels to complement the global indicators. Guillen suggested that the possible indicators that COA can provide are the proportion of total government spending on essential services (education, health and social protection) under Goal 1 (No Poverty) and proportion of countries with systems to track and make public allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment under Goal 5 (Gender Equality).
Guillen also shared PSA efforts to improve the availability of relevant, timely, disaggregated and better quality statistics, including the conduct of a pilot survey on evidence and data on gender equality (EDGE) measuring asset and ownership from a gender perspective and development of methodology for generating multidimensional poverty index.
COA officials emphasized the importance of leveling up auditors’ understanding and appreciation of gender and development (GAD) data for use in the audit of GAD funds as well as the need to invest in statistics to enhance audit services.
Assistant Commissioner Lourdes M. Castillo, COA Gender and Development Focal Point System Technical Working Group Chairperson, stresses the importance of statistics in enhancing audit work.
Meanwhile, COA is already half-way in joining the nation’s celebration of women’s month with focus on collaborative efforts to make change work for women. “Our own GAD Focal Point System has been working tirelessly in implementing GAD programs and projects in the Commission. I am proud to say that women in COA are not only the beneficiaries of GAD programs and projects but are also drivers of change as leaders in the Commission,” Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo said.
COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and PNOC RC President and CEO John J. Arenas (center) lead the inauguration ceremony for the 200kWp Rooftop Solar PV Project on 1 March 2017. With them are (from left) COA Commissioner Isabel D. Agito, Director Maria Carmina E. Cruz of the PNOC RC and Engineer Pedro L. Lite Jr., Vice President for Operations of the PNOC RC.
The Commission on Audit (COA) donned its environment-friendly hat by promoting renewable energy (RE) through the new 200 kilowatt solar rooftop facilities installed at its Professional Development Center (PDC) Building and new COA Dormitory. The project was made in cooperation with the Philippine National Oil Company – Renewables Corporation (PNOC RC).
COA and the PNOC RC held the switch-on ceremony for the rooftop solar PV project on 1 March 2017 at the PDC Building.
COA undertook the project in response to the government campaign to utilize alternative source of electricity at less cost.
“We are hoping that through this project we will be able to generate significant savings by lowering our electricity cost and at the same time, lower our carbon footprint for environmental reasons,” COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo said. He added that while only two COA buildings were installed with the rooftop solar PV, there is a lot of potential for the other Central Office buildings and Regional Offices.
View of the solar panels installed at the Professional Development Center
We are elated that our fellow government agencies, such as COA, are engaged in the development and implementation of renewable and efficient energy programs. It is evident that COA’s initiatives are aligned with the PNOC RC’s vision and the government’s thrust on promoting renewable energy. We are grateful and we are proud to be working with another government agency that shares the same values and vision and we look forward to working with COA as a long-term partner,” PNOC RC President and CEO John J. Arenas said.