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

Published: 8 February 2023


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.

The CPA Dialogue in Cotabato City was participated by three networks of CSOs, namely: 1Community Organizers Multi-diversity; Health, Education and Livelihood for the People (HELP) of Mindanao, Inc.; and Seed Foundation Program, Inc. During the workshops, CSO members and auditors of COA BARMM identified relevant and value added audit thrust areas. The PMO Team noted that the audit topics identified were mostly linked to addressing the effect of climate change and its impact. The suggestions may have been triggered by the recent flood that left many casualties in Maguindanao Province due to landslides.The topics raised were the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program, Solid Waste Management System, coastal clean-up drive, flood control projects, provision of evacuation and day care centers, quarantine facilities, standards for replacements of roads and bridges, and other significant audit thrust areas.

Likewise, the CPA Dialogue in La Trinidad, Benguet was joined by Abong Foundation, a Filipino-Japanese partnership. During the workshops, CSO members and auditors of CAR identified many audit thrust areas, such as the standards for the listing of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries under the Department of Social Welfare and Development Conditional Cash Transfers, unfinished school buildings, road reblocking, reasonableness of project cost estimates, bidding process and awarding of infrastructure projects, effect of the full devolution of health services from the Department of Health (DOH) to local hospitals under the local government units (LGUs) , among others.

In Region I, San Fernando, La Union, members of the academe, professional organizations and a non-governmental organization took part in the dialogue. These included the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, St. Louis College, Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers and the Gift of Love for Community Development Foundation, Inc. The results of the CPA Dialogue raised important audit thrust areas, such as, but not limited to the audit of 4Ps Conditional Cash Transfer, Covid expenditures, effectiveness of K-12 Program of the Department of Education (DepED), DOH subsidy to devolve and other community hospitals manage by LGUs, frequency of repairs or re-blocking of national roads, basic facilities and medical services offered by district hospitals, housing projects of the National Housing Authority, effectiveness of the Internet Program in national high schools under the Decentralized Internet Connectivity Project of the DepED, longer contract duration of public roads and bridges and other infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, among others.

In like manner, the CPA Dialogue in Tagbilaran City was participated in by five academic institutions, namely: Holy Name University, University of Bohol, Mater Dei College and Bohol Institute of Technology, and the Pharmacist Association of the Philippines, Bohol Chapter. Together with the auditors of the Province of Bohol, the CSO members recognized varied audit thrust areas, such as the implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program, replacements of road pavements/road reblocking, educational assistance to private tertiary education, equipment and facitities of community hospitals, linkages of the DOH and divolve hospitals, fund transfers from national government to provincial/municipal government.

The outputs of these dialogues shall be used as inputs to the CY 2023 Sectoral CPA Planning of the four audit sectors of the Commission.

The CPA Dialogue is an essential part of the COA’s CPA Framework. In our country context, the essence of a CPA strategy is citizen participation and civil society engagement. The CPA concept is rooted in the Filipino value of volunteerism, popularly known as the Bayanihan Spirit, a Filipino custom that we must be proud of. The CPA is also represented by the Philippine jeepney, envisioned as a symbol and a way of inviting citizens, civil society and other external stakeholders to take part in COA’s CPA journey and carry out this very significant reform strategy for good governance.

More importantly, the CPA is primarily aimed at achieving COA’s Mission of “ensuring accountability for public resources, promoting transparency, and helping government agencies in improving its operations, in partnership with stakeholders, for the benefit of the Filipino people.”

At the closing of every CPA Dialogue, COA calls out to all Filipino citizens, “Mga kababayan, tara na! Sakay na sa Jeep ng CPA para sa Bayan!” # – contributed by the Project Management Office