Published: 6 July 2021
Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo talked about the Commission’s mandate, programs and projects to ensure transparency and accountability in government as guest of the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s (PCOO) television program “F.Y.I.” hosted by PCOO Undersecretary Atty. Kristian R. Ablan. The interview was taped via Zoom and aired on IBC-13 on 4 July 2021 at 8:30 p.m. The episode was also livestreamed on the F.Y.I. Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FYIPHOfficial).
Putting emphasis on the Commission’s role not only as watchdog of public coffers but also as enablers of government agencies to help them perform their mandates better, Chairperson Aguinaldo said “Ang COA ay isa sa mga ahensya na may mandato to ensure transparency and accountability sa mga ginagawa ng gobyerno. Gusto namin na makita ng mamamayan na may nagbabantay din sa mga buwis at nagagamit ng tama. Hindi po kami kalaban o kaaway ng mga nasa gobyerno. Hindi lang po kami tagahanap ng mali, anomalya o katiwalian. Nakikita namin ang aming mga sarili bilang partners in nation building.”
“Itong pandemya ay malaki ang epekto sa atin. Of course, we want to ensure accountability but at the same time ayaw po naming maging hadlang sa mga relief efforts kaya marami po kaming inisyu na mga opinions, mga Circulars to address these lalo na sa mga initiatives ng DSWD at GPPB to make things simpler especially a year ago to make sure people get the support they needed from government gaya ng SAP at mga donations but at the same time maintaining that government officials still have to be accountable,” he observed.
Aside from the Commission’s primary mandate to examine, audit and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and expenditures or uses of government funds and property, Chairperson Aguinaldo discussed actions taken by COA to ensure the proper and rightful use of government funds, data regarding the issuance of Notices of Disallowance (ND), Suspension (NS) and Charge (NC) in the past two years, and programs to update government personnel on audit rules and regulations.
Chairperson Aguinaldo reported that the Commission issued 1,524 NDs amounting to P383.38 million of which 485 were settled amounting to P90.72 million in 2020. The NS issued amounted to P19.78 billion. In 2019, COA issued 2,092 NDs valued at P662.56 million of which 1,171 NDs were settled amounting to P329.12 million.
USec Ablan noted the good news, noting that “it’s not every day that we realize that a lot of people’s money are actually returned to the National Treasury. So saludo po kami sa inyo at sa inyong mga auditors.”
Meanwhile, in response to a query on how the public can report instances of fraud or anomalies, Chairperson Aguinaldo highlighted reporting mechanisms for citizens including the Citizens’ Desk Reporting System (https://cdrs.coa.gov.ph/) which has a link in the COA website www.coa.gov.ph and textline 0917-3206543 as well as the Public Information Office’s email, [email protected]
Chairperson Aguinaldo also paid tribute and gave credit to the auditors of the Commission, who he said, are the workhorses and the ones more exposed during the pandemic.
USec Ablan expressed his appreciation to COA for heeding the call of transparency and accountability even before the issuance of Executive Order No. 2. An audience member also gave positive feedback and observed that more Filipinos should be knowledgeable on how government agencies spend public funds. “Kudos din po sa ating mga auditors na mabusising tumitingin sa paggastos ng ating pamahalaan at sa epektibong pamumuno ni Chairperson Aguinaldo na maiging napaliwanag ang mandato ng COA,” Ms. Pahati said.
Produced by the PCOO in coordination with IBC-13, “F.Y.I” is an informative public affairs TV program which aims to inform the public of the existing and new government programs and services, as well as the transparency and Freedom of Information initiatives of various agencies.