COA Chair shares audit transparency gains, plans at international conference

Published: 29 June 2016
Commission on Audit Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo with delegates from other countries at the 2016 Plenary Conference of the Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia (PEMNA)

Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo shared gains in audit transparency through COA’s Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) project as well as COA plans and programs at a conference attended by 300 public expenditure officials and practitioners in Asia and the Pacific.

Chairperson Aguinaldo and COA Commissioner Jose A. Fabia were keynote and plenary speakers, respectively, at the 2016 Plenary Conference of the Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia (PEMNA) hosted by the Philippines from June 8-10, 2016, at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City..

Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad and Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran were also at the opening session to welcome delegates from PEMNA member countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, South Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and Russia. Representatives of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, European Commission, UNICEF, and US Treasury also attended the conference.

Chairperson Aguinaldo reported that since the launch of the CPA in 2012, three successful pilot audits have been implemented: the KAMANAVA flood control project, the Solid Waste Management program in Quezon City, and the barangay health programs in Marikina City.

“Our experience with the CPA project has taught us that even when two groups have very different and sometimes clashing viewpoints, as with state auditors and civil society groups, they can work together to achieve shared goals and aspirations. In this case, to make sure that government agencies implement programs to obtain desired outcomes,” he added.

Chairperson Aguinaldo also shared programs under COA’s new Seven-year Strategic Plan including a program to institutionalize a Change Management Framework where COA will create a Change Management Team to develop strategies on communicating changes, conducting training and coaching plan as well as a plan to use social media to engage the public’s aid in monitoring infrastructure projects. Chairperson Aguinaldo noted that these are plans that are still in its concept stages.

Commissioner Fabia, for his part, gave an update of COA’s continuing audit reforms such as the adoption of an additional three Philippine Public Sector Accounting Standards (PPSSAs) on General Auditing Guidelines on Financial Audit and the approval and prescription of the Revised Chart of Accounts for Local Government Units and the Revised Chart of Accounts for Government Corporations.

The 2016 PEMNA Conference served as a venue for public financial managers in Asia and the Pacific to discuss fiscal transparency and citizen participation and experiences in PFM reform implementation with the perspective of local government as implementers of reform and another session focusing on change management.

Philippine public finance officials emphasized the country’s holistic approach to public expenditure from planning and budgeting to implementation and monitoring as well as audit and reporting.

PEMNA is a peer-learning network of PFM practitioners to help governments across Asia and Pacific countries to improve management of public spending. Past plenary conferences of PEMNA were held in Myanmar, Mongolia, China, and Korea.