The Commission on Audit (COA) renewed its commitment to women empowerment as the focus of the theme for the national celebration of Women’s Month: We Make Change Work for Women to highlight empowered women not only as active contributors but also claimholders of gender and development (GAD).

The Philippine Commission on Women identified this theme for the celebration of National Women’s Month until 2022.

“Women are empowered when they become part of the decision-making process. In the Commission, more than 5,000 women or around 62% occupy second level positions. More than their actual positions, however, women and men have equal opportunities to take control not only in the work environment but also in their personal lives through our various programs to improve work and family life balance, physical fitness and emotional well-being,” observed Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo.

The Chairperson also emphasized the auditor’s role in making change work for women by ensuring that GAD funds are properly spent and that GAD programs implemented by government reach their objectives.

COA officials, athletes and personnel sing the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the celebration of National Women’s Month on 26 February 2019.

Commissioner Jose A. Fabia noted that 85% of all of the awardees in last year’s COA Salutes the Best program were all women, a testament that COA’s GAD programs have been effective in empowering women.

“COA takes pride in achieving significant strides in enhancing gender responsiveness and narrowing the gender gap in the Commission. We are the only government agency to reach the highest level in the Enhanced Gender Mainstreaming Evaluation Framework designed by the Philippine Commission on Women,” he said.

Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc, the new Chair of the COA GAD Focal Point System (GFPS) Executive Committee, said he was inspired by United Nations (UN) Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson who said we need to “see gender as a spectrum instead of two opposing ideals.”

“I hope to bring more positive changes through the help of the collective efforts of the past and COA GFPS leadership and from our supportive employees. As the Chair of the COA GFPS and even if the Commission Proper are all men, I assure everyone that we will be more rigorous in maintaining and developing GAD-related concerns in COA’s programs and projects,” Commissioner Pondoc said.

COA’s celebration of Women’s Month formally began with the opening of the sports festival with parade of players on 26 February 2019. Activities for the month-long celebration include several talk on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal, singing and cultural dance competitions, livelihood programs, environmental parade and clean-up drive in COA premises and various fora on Women Help Desk and diabetes and cancer.