Nine former COA officials honored with Accountancy Centenary Award of Excellence

Nine former officials of the Commission on Audit (COA) were honored by the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (PRBOA) with the Accountancy Centenary Award of Excellence conferred on 17 March 2023 at the Manila Hotel to mark the culmination of the 100th year anniversary celebration of the Accountancy Profession in the Philippines.

The PRBOA conferred the Award on 100 notable Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) “whose unquestionable integrity, as exemplified by their outstanding contributions and unparalleled dedication in the advancement of the Accountancy profession and remarkable participation in national development have proven worthy of honor and emulation.”

The nine former COA officials named among the 100 notable Filipino CPAs are Chairpersons Pascasio S. Banaria, Celso D. Gangan, Guillermo N. Carague and Maria Gracia M. Pulido Tan; Commissioners Hermogenes P. Pobre and Heidi L. Mendoza; Assistant Commissioners Cecilio L. Dizon and Luzvi P. Chatto and Mr. Jose G. Torres.

The PRBOA also listed six COAns among the “Recognition Awardees” who are former members of the Board of Accountancy. They are former COA Commissioner Silvestre D. Sarmiento and Messrs. Guillermo A. Cruz, Jose A. Gangan, Rufo R. Mendoza, Juan S. Ong, and Alejandro Reyes.

Chairperson Pulido Tan is the first woman Chairperson of the COA. She brought to the Commission impeccable academic and professional credentials and a wealth of experience and multidisciplinary expertise in law and accounting, finance, management and governance acquired in her many decades of professional work as private law and accounting practitioner, government official and international consultant. As COA Chairperson, she introduced many reforms that evaluated the organizational structure, strengthened COA independence, upgraded capabilities and built capacities especially in the areas of forensic accounting and fraud audit and engage citizen participation. One of her flagship programs, the Citizen Participatory Audit program has won many awards, including the “Bright Spots” Award at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit held in London in 2013 and first place for the Asia Pacific Region for the 2021 OGP Impact Awards. Chairperson Tan served as Chairman of the United Nations Independent Audit Advisory Committee.

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COA celebrates 2023 National Women’s Month

The Commission on Audit (COA) joins the nation in the observance of the 2023 National Women's Month celebration (NWM) with the theme, "WE for gender equality and inclusive society." The month-long celebration, which honors women and their contributions to nation-building, is part of the worldwide commemoration of International Women's Day and National Women's Day on 8 March 2023.

The Philippine Commission on Women launched the new recurring theme from 2023 to 2028 to highlight the renewed commitment towards gender equality and an inclusive society. The theme “banks on the gains achieved during the 2016-2022 theme, WE Make CHANGE Work for Women, which emphasized the need for compassionate and harmonized networks towards gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE).”

COA Chairperson Gamaliel A. Cordoba said that COA is a women-empowered institution with women comprising 62% of the total workforce as of 31 December 2022. “The women of COA are indeed a formidable force, capable and provided with the opportunity to participate in leadership and decision-making,” he observed.

Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc noted that the Commission has performed well its responsibilities under the GEWE Plan 2019-2025. “We continuously implement various Gender and Development (GAD) programs, especially in strengthening audit of GAD funds and building capacity of auditors in that area as well as enhancing health and well-being of our personnel and improving work-life balance,” he said.

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COA moves to modernize audit

The Commission on Audit (COA) moves to modernize public auditing practice through shift from paper-based to digital-driven audits. In a recently published PICPA Talks column of the Manila Bulletin, COA Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc reported that COA is implementing an Audit Modernization Program by optimizing the use of science, technology, and innovation to enhance COA’s resilience in times of crises or emergencies such as the pandemic.

Commissioner Pondoc discussed the five major initiatives of COA's Audit Modernization Program:

1) Development of Audit Service Continuity Plan which contains continuity strategies and mechanisms in dealing with the adverse impacts of any disruptive events and aims to safeguard personnel by providing them with tools and skills to capacitate them;

2) Building capacity to perform remote audit through the use of the Electronic Document Portal which is a facility enabling state auditors to request for audit documents from the auditees remotely and the submission of documents in electronic form;

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COA enhances stakeholder relations through Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) Dialogues

The Commission on Audit (COA), through the Project Management Office (PMO) and in coordination with the COA Regional Offices, is enhancing stakeholder relations through the conduct of the Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) Dialogues nationwide.

The CPA Dialogue is the first stage in the CPA Framework where COA obtains inputs from its external stakeholders, such as members of the academe, non-government organizations, media, professional organizations and other civil society organizations (CSOs) on what they want COA to prioritize in the next CPA Planning and what CSOs can share if they are to be engaged as COA’s partners in future CPA engagements. Questions from citizens/civil society pertaining to COA’s works are also answered and explained during the dialogue, especially on matters that impact their lives.

At the start of 2023, CPA Dialogues were conducted in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in La Trinidad, Benguet on 10 January 2023, and in the Ilocos Region, in San Fernando, La Union on 24 January 2023. In the Visayas islands, the CPA Dialogue was conducted in Region VII in the Province of Bohol on 19 January 2023. The CPA Dialogue for Region VI, Western Visayas, is scheduled to be conducted in March 2023 while another one is scheduled in Region X, Northern Mindanao in May 2023. The first dialogue to jump-start the full institutionalization of CPA program was conducted in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao BARMM in Cotabato City on 10 November 2022.

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