COA, DOJ, and OMB ink MOA on Resident Ombudsmen

Intending to revive its Resident Ombudsmen Program, the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to designate state prosecutors and auditors as resident ombudsmen in selected government agencies that are perceived to be graft-ridden.

COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo, DOJ Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, and Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires signed the MOA on 08 September 2021 to "synergize the investigatory powers of the Ombudsman, DOJ, and COA in the implementation of corruption prevention measures and to act on complaints and reports of corrupt activities, thus aiding the Ombudsman and COA to carry out their respective mandates while also serving as a supplemental tool for the DOJ to attain the purposes of the Task Force Against Corruption which it is spearheading."

The OMB initiated the proposed MOA which stemmed from the inter-agency Task Force Against Corruption pursuant to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to the DOJ to create an inter-agency panel that will conduct a corruption investigation into the “entire government.”

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COA clarification on audit findings of DOH COVID-19 funds

The Consolidated Annual Audit Report for FY 2020 of the Department of Health (DOH) contains observations and findings made by the Commission on Audit on the utilization of the budget by the DOH. Accompanying the observations and findings are the recommendations made by the auditors for the management of DOH to address the observation and findings. These are part of the audit process, which allows the audited agency to comply with the recommendations and rectify any deficiencies. The Report itself does not mention any findings by the auditors of funds lost to corruption.

As an example, some of the findings of deficiencies involving COVID-19 funds amounting to Php67.3 Billion resulted from the non-submission of documentation or supporting papers, which the DOH may still submit in compliance with the auditor’s recommendation. Of the Php67.3 Billion, Php42.4 Billion consisted of fund transfers to procurement/implementing partner-agencies without the required documentation. There is no finding that this amount cannot be accounted for. The breakdown of the Php67.3 Billion and the deficiencies found are clearly explained in Annexes IV and V of the Consolidated Annual Audit Report of the DOH.

As there are recommendations for compliance by the DOH, the audit process for the deficiencies pointed out has not been completed. Hence, it is premature at this stage to make conclusions on the findings in the Consolidated Annual Audit Report.

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SAI Philippines completes participation in the 12th ASOSAI Research Project

The Commission on Audit (COA), the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of the Philippines, has completed its participation in the 12th Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) Research Project on “Audit on Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Leveraging Digital or Big Data to Achieve the SDGs.” SAI United Arab Emirates (UAE), Chair of the 12th Research Project, presented two reports and executive summaries during the virtual meeting on 26 July 2021 formally concluding the research project. COA Assistant Commissioner Fortunata M. Rubico and Director Michael L. Racelis, Team Leader and Team Member, respectively, attended the virtual meeting.

The two reports are titled: Audit on Implementation of SDGs: Leveraging Digital or Big Data to Achieve the SDGs; and Evaluation of the importance of reporting frameworks based on providing transparency in situations that have complexities prepared by SAI Thailand. The research project consisted of three pillars: Policy Coherence, Management of Information and Accountability Lines and an in-depth study on promoting transparency within the government as part of strengthening accountability area. The major contributions of SAI Philippines to the research project included performance audit of the National Greening Program conducted by the Performance Audit Office, concepts of citizen participatory audit, application of ISSAI-100 audit model in the policy evaluation of a climate change program, and audit of digital or big data under different maturity levels with the assistance of the Information Technology Audit Office.

The reports have been uploaded at SAI UAE will present the executive summaries of the two reports during the next ASOSAI Governing Board Meeting and General Assembly in September 2021.

The research project had its kick-off meeting in February 2019 attended by 35 participants from SAIs Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and Vietnam. For SAI Philippines, Assistant Commissioner Rubico, and Directors Racelis, Susana S. Medez and Maria Realiza R. Ysmael attended the kick-off meeting. The second meeting in October 2019 was attended by Assistant Commissioner Rubico and Director Racelis. # Contributed by Assistant Commissioner Fortunata M. Rubico and Director Michael L. Racelis; edited by the Public Information Office

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COA Commissioner Pondoc conferred as ASEAN Chartered CPA

Commission on Audit (COA) Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc was inducted and conferred as an “ASEAN Chartered Professional Accountant” at a formal ceremony on 31 July 2021 during the 2nd ASEAN Chartered Public Accountant Conference virtually held in Cebu City.

Commissioner Pondoc, also a lawyer, is one of 96 Filipino CPAs who joined the ranks of ASEAN Chartered Professional Accountants. The members took their oath before Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) Chairman Teofilo S. Pilando, Jr. The new members will be issued an ASEAN PRC identification card and certificate.

Under mutual recognition agreements signed by all ten ASEAN member states, ASEAN Chartered Professional Accountants are legally allowed to provide accountancy services in ASEAN markets without having to undergo extensive re-training or re-qualification procedures.

Mr. Rosanno Luga, president of the Davao City chapter of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), said that there are about 5,300 ASEAN professional accountants to date including the newly conferred Filipino ASEAN CPAs, three of whom are past presidents of the PICPA Davao Chapter and are now holding important positions in the government. They are Commissioner Pondoc, Energy Regulatory Commission Commissioner Marko Romeo L. Fuentes, and Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (PRBOA) Vice-Chairperson Thelma S. Ciudadano.

The conferment was held on the second day of the 2nd ASEAN CPA Conference hosted by the PRBOA and PICPA from 30-31 July 2021. With the theme “Forging Alliances. Strengthening Links,” the Conference gathered a vast number of CPAs from all over the ASEAN region to better facilitate mobility of accounting professionals across the ASEAN and promote adoption of best practices and standards.

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