COA Chairperson Pulido Tan ends term; makes good on promise of reforms

Published: 2 February 2015
COA Chairperson Maria Gracia M. Pulido Tan addresses COAns at her last flag ceremony as leader of the Commission on February 2, 2015.

February 2, 2015, QUEZON CITY, Philippines- Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Maria Gracia M. Pulido Tan ends her term at the helm of the audit body making good on her promise for reforms in the Commission’s organizational structure, policies, systems and procedures that paved the way for a more efficient, effective and independent audit service.

Speaking to COAns at her last flag ceremony as their leader, Chairperson Pulido Tan said “We saw that if we work as a team, give the tasks our time and attention they require, and transcend our personal interests for the common and larger goals, we can overcome the impediments to efficiency, effectiveness and excellence.”

“I was only your Chairperson from 18 April 2011 to today, 2 February 2015. I was merely your caretaker and leader for that period. Kayo ang tunay na  Commission on Audityou who have made COA your life career and calling, and have sworn to serve with utmost dedication and faithfulness. Let it therefore be also your pride and fulfillment. As such, make it so, its future is in your hands and minds and hearts,” Chairperson Pulido Tan emphasized.

Among the projects Chairperson Pulido Tan will be remembered for is the Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) Project launched in 2012 which enabled citizen engagement with the Commission’s work. Within a year of its launch, the CPA won the “Bright Spot” award at the Open Government Summit held in London and has sparked the interest of the United Nations and other Supreme Audit Institutions as the only citizen audit of its kind.

More significantly, Chairperson Pulido Tan had been relentless in leading the audit of high impact projects, including the Special Audit of the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel and the Malampaya Fund. She had been bold in pursuing sensitive issues that have previously been relegated to the background, including enforcing stricter measures in the use of Confidential and Intelligence Fund and disaster-related funds.

COA’s excellent and independent audit performance in the almost four years Chairperson Pulido Tan sat at its helm contributed to the Commission’s rise in positive public opinion. COA rose from number 31 in 2012 to number 12 in 2014 in the Makati Business Club’s perception of government performance and received a rating in 2013 of +22, from only +8 in 2009 according to the Social Weather Stations survey of best performing anti-corruption agencies.

Chairperson Pulido Tan expressed her thanks to everyone in the Commission, specially to Commissioner Heidi L. Mendoza who Pulido Tan said “was with me from the very beginning, for unselfishly sharing with me her intimate and deep knowledge of the COA and its work, for wholeheartedly supporting me carry out our reform agenda, and for tirelessly and competently working on every assistance I asked of her.”

Chairperson Pulido Tan also extended her thanks to Commissioner Jose A. Fabia for “for accepting the challenge to work for a COA all of us can be proud of” and to the Assistant Commissioners and Directors “who dared to break barriers with me, explore uncharted waters, and adopt innovative measures to bring the Commission on Audit to the consciousness and appreciation of our countrymen.”  

Chairperson Pulido Tan concluded her speech with the same message she gave on her first day in office: “May we not forget that we are but pilgrims on this earth and that we will pass this way only once, so whatever good we can do, let us do it now.  Fame, power and fortune will surely pass, but the legacy of an honest and competent public service will live forever.”

Appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2011, Chairperson Pulido Tan served the remaining term of Chairperson Reynaldo A. Villar.

(click here for the full text of Chairperson Pulido Tan’s speech)