COA bares strategic initiatives at partnership forum

Published: 11 July 2016
Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo, Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Isabel D. Agito with COA’s development partners and stakeholders at the partnership forum last June 24, 2016

The Philippine Commission on Audit (COA) bared its various initiatives under the 2016-2022 COA Strategic Plan to its stakeholders and development partners at a forum held on June 24, 2016 at the COA Professional Development Center Auditorium.

COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Isabel D. Agito led COA officials in presenting the plans and programs under the Strategic Plan as well as in introducing the Commission’s mandate and the professionals that comprise COA to its development partners.

Around 30 representatives from COA’s stakeholders and development partners—the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines, Development Academy of the Philippines, Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific, French Development Agency, Australian Government-Department of Foreign Affairs and, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Board of Accountancy, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and Symph—attended the forum.

Chairperson Aguinaldo said that the core of COA’s 2016-2022 Strategic Plan was to revitalize COA’s role as an enabler of government in the delivery of public service.

“We should be more of an enabler. We should be able to make agencies that we audit better, even if it’s just through proper, efficient, and effective use of their resources,” said Chairman Aguinaldo.

The initiatives to enable agencies include: redefining scope of audit; Public Financial Management Reform; update, simplify, and codify rules; educate government officials on rules; provision of a technical assistance facility; strengthen internal control systems of government agencies; preparation of cost and schedule guides; and finding a way to prepare consolidated annual financial statement.

In order to build a better COA, this Commission’s officials had rewritten the Vision and Mission statements as well as identified six goals under the Strategic Plan. These goals are: create positive impact; empower and enable agencies; improve delivery of high quality, fair and timely audits; increase stakeholder ownership and understanding; strengthen capacity and capability; and enhance support infrastructure.

“Our methodologies included group discussions, interviews, and consultations with COA officials, professionals, external stakeholders, and international bodies,” Chairperson Aguinaldo added.

During the forum, Chairperson Aguinaldo also reported the key challenges of the Commission before presenting the goals and initiatives.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Fabia also introduced COA’s development partners. He remarked that through the event, partners would gain a deeper understanding of COA’s mandate in safeguarding funds. He told partners and stakeholders that COA works to ensure that government resources are put to good use and that results of audit are being used as evidence in court in prosecution of graft and corruption cases.

Commissioner Agito, for her part, introduced COA’s professionals to its development partners, observing that COA has a multi-disciplinary workforce of more than 8,000 employees comprising mostly of Certified Public Accountants and other professionals. She observed the dedication of those who opted to stay in COA notwithstanding offers of higher salaries outside

 Also part of the program was the formal hand-over of the GeoStore from the World Bank to COA. The World Bank extended technical assistance in creating the GeoStore as an enhancement of the Citizen Participatory Audit Program. The GeoStore is a custom-made database to maintain, track, and make readily available information such as geotagged pictures of infrastructure projects to COA audit teams. It helps auditors monitor progress of infrastructure projects.

Development partners, stakeholders, and COA officials also engaged in a roundtable discussion to identify problems, suggestions, and other concerns to enhance the Strategic Plan. – Danielle Dela Cruz