The Commission on Audit (COA) celebrated its 116th founding anniversary on May 8, 2015 focusing on honest and sincere public service as its answer to the challenges of the modern times.

The week-long celebration was highlighted by the COA Salutes the Best program honoring the most outstanding audit performance and exemplary COA employees held at the COA Sports and Cultural Complex on May 7, 2015.

“In my years of working in government, I have witnessed and experienced public service as a truly unique and always a challenging task. Our working environment is like the aquarium – transparent, with every outside looker scrutinizing our moves and thinking, having private expectations. This is always the challenge to us to be extraordinary,” observed COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo.

Referring to the honor awardees, Chairman Aguinaldo expressed the hope that their examples will inspire fellow COAns to achieve and be better at what they do. “Let us not ignore the reality that the making of a cathedral begins with the first and single cut of a stone. You and I, together, are the builders,” he added.

The Gawad Kahusayan for outstanding audit performance went to the Philippine Army Headquarters Audit Team who discovered anomalous registration of 567 military trucks involving an initial amount of more than 9 million pesos, and the registration of 484 motor vehicles in the name of private persons, military personnel and private entities at a cost amounting to P95.58 million.

The Gawad Kagitingan for “performance of a courageous and selfless act involving the risking of one’s life and safety for the common good and/or benefit of others which may be work related or related to public service’’ was awarded to Auditor Lourdes N. Algopera of COA Regional Office VII.

The Gawad Karangalan for “performance of extraordinary act or public service and consistent demonstration of exemplary ethical behavior on the basis of observance of one or more of the eight norms of behavior under R.A. No. 6713” awardees were Auditors Shiela Marie N. Kitongan of the COA-Cordillera Administrative Region, Eufemia C. Jaugan of the National Government Sector (NGS) and Mayola P. Salita of the Corporate Government Sector (CGS).

Former State Auditor Lucia P. Sotelo, who is the national treasurer of the Philippine Maize Federation, Inc. which was created to help farmers and protect their interest, was awarded the Most Productive Retiree.

Receiving the loyalty milestone were Auditors Ramon C. Pentinio of CGS Cluster 2, Evelyn B. Mercado of NGS Cluster 1, Librada C. Pascual of CGS Cluster 5, Myrna D. Monzon of NGS Cluster 2 and Maria L. Adiong of the Fraud Audit Office. The loyalty milestone regional awardees were Domingo S. Vicente of Region I, Eveyln N. Valerio of Region III, Araceli A. Papa of Region IV-A, Arnaldo G. Gando of Region IV-A, Nena Marcela Demasu-ay of Region VII, Noe D. dela Pena of Region VII, Virginia A. Caraso of Region XII, Apolonia B. Jalon of Region XII, Othelia A. Aujero of Region XII, Repsima B. Macachor of Region XIII, Normallah N. Guro of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Nader M. Macagaan of ARMM. 

Meanwhile, COA Week opened with the traditional religious thanksgiving activities, parade of athletes, COA officials and employees on May 4, 2015. The opening ceremony featured a Zumba exhibition and theatrical presentations.

Another highlight of the celebrations was the sports festival which pitted champions of the basketball and men’s and women’s volleyball and badminton competitions from the National Capital Region, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Team Mindanao was the over-all winner. Another winner was Ms. Kristine Joy B. Torlao of Region VII who was named Makabagong Juana of COA. 

Other activities held during COA Week were the photo exhibit on the Citizen Participatory Audit, symposium on public speaking and personality, sports competitions, livelihood demonstrations on facial and body massage and soap making conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Booths manned by various agencies such as the National Statistics Office, Land Transportation Office, Government Service Insurance System, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG and Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care were also set-up to assist COA employees. COAns from the regional offices also showcased products from their respective regions.