Quezon City, Philippines- The Commission on Audit (COA), together with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND) and the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) signed the Joint Circular on Guidelines on the Entitlement, Release, Use, Reporting and Audit of the Confidential and/or Intelligence Fund on January 8, 2015.

COA, DBM, DILG, DND and GCG worked together to formulate the guidelines in order to provide a more accountable and transparent use of Confidential and Intelligence Funds (CIF). The Joint Circular not only provides for strong internal controls in the release and utilization of the CIF but also stricter accounting and auditing rules to prevent mishandling or improper application of the CIF.

“From a Constitutional perspective, the COA is given the mandate to define the scope of its audit, and this includes confidential funds. These guidelines could be a positive tool for governance and is the actualization of the Commission’s policy to engage all its stakeholders,” COA Chairperson Maria Gracia M. Pulido Tan said.

DBM Secretary Florencio B. Abad observed that “the Joint Circular comes at a time when our people are demanding greater public accountability in the use of funds and ensure that activities funded by the CIF are legitimate ones. By reforming the use of the CIF, we are helping the President fulfill his agenda of good governance to achieve sustained development, including just and lasting peace and the rule of law.”

GCG Chairman Cesar L. Villanueva, for his part, said “with the signing of the Joint Circular, we are sending a strong message to the public that we are one with the call for greater responsibility, transparency and accountability.”

DILG Undersecretary Edwin Enrile and DND Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta, representing their agencies, also gave their commitment to the guidelines. COA Commissioners Heidi L. Mendoza and Jose A. Fabia and other key officials of the stakeholder agencies witnessed the signing.