Chairperson Aguinaldo discusses COA’s constitutional mandate at FINEX Philippines 9th General Membership Meeting

Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo discussed the constitutional mandate of the COA as guest speaker at the 9th General Membership Meeting of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) held on 15 September 2021 via Zoom.

FINEX recently spearheaded strong support for the Commission and called to uphold the audit independence of COA.

Chairperson Aguinaldo’s presentation included the history of the COA, its major functions, the types of audits that COA conducts, the constitutional mandate and duties of COA, and myths and misconceptions about the Commission.

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COA elected to Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions Governing Board

The Commission on Audit (COA), the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of the Philippines, was elected as one of the Governing Board (GB) members of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) for the period 2021-2024 during the 15th ASOSAI General Assembly held virtually on 7 September 2021. The event was hosted by the State Audit Office of the Kingdom of Thailand as the new Chair of ASOSAI for 2021-2024.

Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc led the Philippine delegation to the recently concluded event. He was accompanied by officials from the Professional and Institutional Development Sector.

Joining the ex-officio members from the SAIs of China, India, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam, the Assembly elected the seven new GB members—the SAIs of Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The Assembly also elected the Audit Committee which is now comprised of the SAIs of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

“We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our peers in the international audit community for their recognition of COA’s commitment to audit excellence and to the integrity and professionalism of our auditors. Rest assured that the Commission will continue to uphold audit independence and promote knowledge sharing among SAIs,” said COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo.

As part of the newly elected GB, the Philippine delegation also attended the 57th GB Meeting which convened on 8 September 2021. Assuming its new position, COA intends to have a more active role in the pursuit of the mandate and objectives of the ASOSAI and help provide strong governance and solid leadership as sharpened by the experience and expertise as external auditor of the United Nations, its entities and other international organizations.

During the General Assembly, the ASOSAI Chairmanship was handed over from Mr. Tran Sy Thanh, Auditor General of the State Audit Office of Vietnam, to General Chanathap Indamra, President of the State Audit Commission of Thailand.

Moreover, the appointment of SAI India as the next Chair of ASOSAI for the period 2024-2027 and the host of the 16th ASOSAI Assembly in 2024, as well as the renewal of the terms for SAI China as the Secretary General, SAI Japan as the Capacity Development Administrator, and SAI India as the Editor of the Journal, were approved. Reporting of accomplishments of the committees, presentation of the draft Strategic Plan for 2022-2027, approval of the establishment of the Working Groups on Auditing the Sustainable Development Goals and Crisis Management, and adoption of the Bangkok Declaration, were also among the matters discussed. # (Contributed by the Professional Development Office; edited by the Public Information Office)

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COA shares experiences on ASOSAI’s four cross-cutting priorities at international symposium

The Commission on Audit (COA) participated in the 8th Symposium of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) held on 8 September 2021. The virtual event with the theme “The ASOSAI and the Next Normal: Resilience Amidst Challenges” was hosted by the State Audit Office of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Five COA officials presented country papers highlighting experiences and best practices of the Commission on sub-themes that represent the four cross-cutting priorities of the Organization’s Strategic Plan for 2022-2027 and the Bangkok Declaration: promoting good governance in the next normal, encouraging for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), leveraging by using advanced technologies for public sector auditing, and responding to disaster and pandemic issues. The International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Development Initiative also participated in the sessions.

For Sub-theme A, Assistant Commissioner Alexander B. Juliano presented a paper entitled “Promoting Good Governance in the New Normal.” The presentation focused on the COA’s critical role in promoting public trust in the government by establishing an environment of public accountability through fiscal transparency. The Citizen Participatory Audit, Philippine Performance Audit Partnership Project, and the COA’s other collaboration with various anti-corruption bodies and agencies, were among the best practices presented.

Directors Sofia C. Gemora and Michael L. Racelis discussed the topic “SAI and Encouraging Attainment of SDGs” for Sub-theme B. Their country paper expounded the COA’s delivery of performance audit on the National Health Insurance Program as well as in the strengthening of COA’s contribution to SDG audits.

For Sub-theme C, Director Marlon R. Marquina delivered a piece on “Leveraging Opportunities by Using Advanced Technologies for Public Sector Auditing: COA Experience.” The presentation highlighted how the current health crisis has opened new doors for SAI Philippines to modernize public auditing practice by shifting from paper-based audits to a digital-driven one. The COA’s Audit Modernization Program and the Machine Intelligence, Knowledge-based Audit and Experience Learning (MIKA-EL) Project were the highlights of the presentation.

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COA audit team, employee among semi-finalists in search for outstanding government workers

An audit team and an employee of the Commission on Audit (COA) were named semi-finalists in the 2021 Search for Outstanding Government Workers by the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

Team 2, Audit Group A-Charity Fund and Prize Fund, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Cluster 6, Corporate Government Sector was nominated in the group category for the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award while Anthony Durante Atas, Administrative Aide VI of COA Regional Office (RO) No. 1, San Fernando City, La Union, was named semi-finalist for the Dangal ng Bayan Award.

The PCSO Audit Team, which won the COA’s Gawad Kahusayan award for outstanding audit performance for 2020, issued several audit observation memoranda that uncovered certain deficiencies during the audit of Small-town Lottery operations, including P1.141 billion from unremitted Presumptive Monthly Retail Receipts due to the PCSO. The audit team was composed of team leader State Auditor Belen B. Ladines, and members Jinky B. Rocal, Margeoreane C. Derico, Ian Emmanuel C. Jimenez, Judith Anne C. Cabral, Nephtali D. Gonzaga, and Rephan Augustus G. Cucio. However, only five names were nominated in accordance with the CSC rules.

A recipient of COA’s Gawad Karangalan Level I award for 2020, Mr. Atas provided not only administrative support but also delivered a variety of assistance to the technical staff of COA RO No. 1, including carpentry and plumbing and rendered overtime services without payment. His commitment saved the office a lot of resources as well as two lives.

The Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award is conferred on an individual or group for extraordinary contribution that had “nationwide impact on public interest, security and patrimony” while the Dangal ng Bayan Award is a recognition given to an individual for exemplary ethical behavior in observance of the code of conduct under Republic Act No. 6713.

The other semi-finalists for the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award, group category, are Hope Behind Bars Project of the Bataan Peninsula State University and Outpatient Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

Other semi-finalists for the Dangal ng Bayan Award are Administrative Aide I John Laumoc Alcazarin of the Municipal Government of Numancia, Aklan; Medical Technologist I Lucia Jacinta Santiago Benter of the Municipal Government of La Trinidad, Benguet; Instructor I Don Sean Arvie Valenzuela Buencamino of the Aurora State College of Technology; Master Teacher I Ma. Theresa Hermoso Criste of the Department of Education-Schools Division of Cavite; Medical Specialist III Dr. Jose Jonas Diño Del Rosario of the Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines, Manila; Teacher II Sherwyne Tubal Manlangit of the Cagraray Elementary School, Catanduanes; Administrative Aide III Aquilino Ronquillo Mapili Jr. of the Municipal Government of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Education Program Specialist II Markson Bosquillos Mejia of the Department of Education-Schools Division of Sorsogon City; and Head Teacher III Analyn Climaco Perez of the Dina-ut Elementary School, Aklan.

The CSC also confers the Pag-asa Award to an individual or group of individuals for outstanding contributions resulting from an idea or performance which directly benefit more than one department of the government, though not of such an extraordinary degree as to merit the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award.

In a statement, the CSC said the gathering of feedback aims to ensure that only those deserving will be conferred with the highest recognition given to state employees. The CSC added it would accept feedbacks on the semi-finalists until 15 September 2021.

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