The groundbreaking ceremony and time capsule laying for the new Commission on Audit (COA) Provincial Satellite Auditing Office (PSAO) in Rizal was held on 5 January 2020. The site of the new PSAO building is located at Sitio Cabading, Barangay Inarawan, Antipolo City.

COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo with Assistant Commissioner Luzvi P. Chatto, COA Region IV-A Regional Director Mario G. Lipana, Assistant Regional Director Maria Oliva V. Ortega and Director Amelia P. Valdez of the General Services Office led the ceremony. Rizal Governor Rebecca “Nini” A. Ynares and Antipolo City Mayor Andrea B. Ynares led the guests from the local government units (LGUs) that included City Legal Officer Atty. Cedrick Justice U. Capiral, City Engineer Jesus S. Gonzaga, City Planning and Development Officer Rowena T. Zapanta, Provincial Treasurer Ma. Teresa E. Lasquety, and OIC-City Budget Officer Ms. Priscilla R. Padua.

Chairperson Aguinaldo thanked the City of Antipolo and the Province of Rizal for being gracious in allowing COA to use the land for its satellite office in Rizal. He mentioned that there are currently 49 operating PSAOs all over the country. Chairperson Aguinaldo spoke of the importance of interdependence among different bodies of government that work together towards better public service. He also thanked the members of the COA family for their perseverance and making the best out of this difficult time of global pandemic.

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Contrary to recent news reports, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate of the Philippines had confidential or intelligence funds in the 2019 budget.

The 2019 Annual Financial Report (AFR) for the National Government cited in the news reports shows that the Congress of the Philippines had no confidential and intelligence expenses incurred for the year ended 31 December 2019. While appearing under the sub-major account category Confidential, Intelligence and Extraordinary Expenses prescribed under the Revised Chart of Accounts for National Government Agencies, the P3.98 Billion entry clearly refers to the item “Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses”. The AFR clearly shows that the Congress of the Philippines did not incur any Confidential or Intelligence expenses in 2019.

Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses, as provided under Section 47 of the General Provisions of the FY 2019 General Appropriations Act include, but are not limited to, expenses incurred for various activities such as meetings, seminars and conferences; office equipment and supplies; public relations; educational, athletic and cultural activities; subscription to professional, technical journals and informative magazines, library book and materials; and other similar expenses not supported by the regular budget allocation.

The sub-major account category Confidential, Intelligence and Extraordinary Expenses refer to three general ledger accounts: confidential expenses (related to surveillance activities in civilian government agencies), intelligence expenses (related to intelligence information gathering activities of uniformed, military personnel and intelligence practitioners), and extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses (incidental to the performance of official functions).

The Revised Chart of Accounts was adopted to conform to the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

The Commission on Audit (COA) honored its 2020 retirees and loyalty awardees led by former Commissioner Jose A. Fabia at a virtual recognition program held on 21 December 2020.

The Commission’s recognition of its retirees and loyalty awardees highlighted a simple COA Christmas celebration centered on the theme “Pasko 2020: Pag-ibig at Pag-asa sa Gitna ng Pandemya.”

As a safety precaution in this time of pandemic, the Commission held the traditional Christmas greetings to the Commission Proper through a virtual ceremony and omitted the annual Christmas lunch with low-salaried employees.

“Sa kabila ng mga pagsubok na dala ng COVID-19 at mga sakunang dulot ng mga nagdaang sunod sunod na bagyo, nanatili tayong matatag sa pagsagawa ng ating tungkulin at tapat na paglilingkod sa ating bansa. Sa lahat ng ito, hatid sa atin ng Panginoon ang Kapayapaan at Pag-asa na mas makapangyarihan kaysa sa takot,” COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo said in his Christmas message to COAns.

“Sa ating pagbabalik-tanaw sa taong ito, sama-sama nating hinarap at sama-sama rin nating malalagpasan ang mga pagsubok. Natutuwa ako, bilang iisang pamilya sa COA, na ginampanan natin ang mga tungkulin na bantayan at pagyamanin ang kaban ng ating bayan sa gitna ng mga hamon ng pandemya. Ako ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa bawat kawani ng COA,” he added.

Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc, for his part, reminded COAns that this season is a time of hope and thanksgiving. “Ito ay panahon ng Pag-asa at Pasasalamat sa mga biyayang ipinagkaloob sa atin, sa mga taong naging inspirasyon natin, at sa mga pangyayaring nagpatatag sa atin na siyang instrumento ng ating pagkakaisa. Bilang isang ahensya, nawa ay sama-sama pa rin nating ipagdiwang ang tunay na diwa ng Pasko sa pamamagitan ng pagtutulungan, pagmamahalan at pagbibigayan ng kasiyahan sa bawat isa,” he said.

COA Commissioner Jose A. Fabia led the list of COA officials who have retired in 2020 which also included Assistant Commissioners Joseph B. Anacay, Adelina Concepcion L. Ancajas, Leila S. Paras, Carmela S. Perez and Elizabeth S. Zosa and Directors Melanie R. Añonuevo, Irma S. Besas, Danilo M. Lagason, Luis S. Mejia, Emelita R. Quirante, Lynn S. Sicangco, Angelina B. Villanueva, Lydia S. Adoremos, Lorna V. Anacay, Gertrudes D. Donato, Emma U. Escusa, Antonio L. Gopez, Cora D. Marquez, Susana S. Medez, Maria S. Sarmiento, and Bismarck R. Turingan.

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Commission on Audit (COA) employees – Ms. Eyren M. Yulde of Cluster 3, Corporate Government Sector and Mr. Benito R. Ong of the Information Technology Office, Systems and Technical Services Sector – have been awarded the Dangal ng Bayan Award (Regional Level) by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) – National Capital Region (NCR). The virtual awarding ceremony was held at the Commission Proper Board Room on 10 December 2020.

The Dangal ng Bayan award is conferred to an individual for performance of an extraordinary act or public service and consistent demonstration of exemplary ethical behavior on the basis of his/her observance of the eight norms of behavior provided under Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.”

Ms. Yulde was recognized for her audit efforts which contribute significantly to the achievement of the Commission’s constitutional mandate to safeguard government funds and properties. Meanwhile, Mr. Ong has been notable in leveraging the use of Information Technology (IT) in enhancing the Commission’s services which eventually resulted to savings.

“I congratulate Ms. Yulde and Mr. Ong for being recognized as outstanding public employees in the regional level by the CSC. Their efforts showed a great sense of accountability and public service. I hope they become inspirations for every COAn and public servant to excel in the performance of their duties with utmost honesty and integrity,” COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo said.

Mr. Yulde and Mr. Ong have also been shortlisted in Dangal ng Bayan Award in the National Level.

Joining Chairperson Aguinaldo in the awarding ceremony were Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc, CSC Director Dick N. Chavez, Assistant Commissioner Luzvi Pangan Chatto, Directors Marie Macel O. Tejada, Lourdes T. Cardenas, and Lydia F. De Joya.

The Commission on Audit (COA) inaugurated its new Provincial Satellite Auditing Office (PSAO) Building in Brgy. Guinlajon, Sorsogon City on 27 November 2020. Sorsogon Provincial Governor Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region V Director Virgilio C. Eduarte COA Assistant Commissioner Roland A. Rey, and COA Region V Director Joel S. Estolatan, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony and unveiling of the marker. The blessing of the PSAO building by Rev. Fr. Cyben Laurence S. Vitug of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Seminary, Sorsogon City followed. COA Region V officials and auditors from the province of Sorsogon graced the event.

COA Assistant Commissioner Roland A. Rey and Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Provincial Satellite Auditing Office in Sorsogon. Assisting them are COA Region V Director Joel S. Estolatan and DPWH Region V Director Virgilio C. Eduarte

The construction of PSAOs throughout the country is a priority program of the Commission to provide auditors in the field, especially in the provinces, a home base. The COA PSAO Building in Sorsogon was conceptualized in 2018 and made possible thru the concerted efforts of Governor Chiz Escudero and the DPWH as implementing agency.

Due to travel restrictions brought by the pandemic, COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc were not able to grace the occasion but they made sure that their well wishes were relayed through their video messages.

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