Commission on Audit Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo reminded the participants of the EXCEED 2021 Accounting Convention on the importance of safeguarding taxes collected by the government to be used in the yearly National Expenditure Program.

Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo talked about COA's role in safeguarding the country's coffers and why taxes are deemed to be the lifeblood of the government in one of the various simultaneous classes of the EXCEED 2021 Accounting Convention that is taking place between 17 to 24 April 2021 with the theme, “Reshaping Business Dynamics, Catalyzing Post Pandemic Nation-Building.”

One hundred ninety-five students and participants attended the Chairperson’s lecture-presentation entitled “COA at a Glance.”

Sponsored by the Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants – De La Salle University Chapter, the convention aims to educate future business leaders as we prepare to enter a post-pandemic world of business and accounting. The convention featured several “classes” which are composed of a wide selection of topics that were presented by experts in their respective fields. The Accounting Convention is open to university students from all over the Philippines but with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event is being held entirely via Zoom and YouTube.

"In government, the finances begin with the collection of revenue. With the revenue collected, the government can now spend. Once funds are disbursed by government agencies, the auditors come in to review how these funds were disbursed," Chairperson Aguinaldo said as he described the National Budget Process.

The Chairperson explained that COA renders an annual report on the spending made by various government agencies from which the Department of Budget and Management and Congress determine items for inclusion or exclusion in next year's budget. Chairperson Aguinaldo said COA's role in the said process is promoting the general welfare of the Filipino people by discovering any forms of fraud and corruption.

"The Commission on Audit has Fraud Audit and Special Audit Offices which conduct thorough audits of transactions where fraud or irregularities have been reported. These reports are submitted to the Ombudsman for possible administrative and criminal prosecution," Chairperson Aguinaldo explained.

The Chairperson also included in his lecture the use of different technologies by COA to effectively and efficiently do audit work during the pandemic. He said that the use of geotagging technology is effective in real-time monitoring of government infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals. The Machine Intelligence, Knowledge-based Audit and Experience Learning or MIKA-EL is a portal that can make COA resilient against any disruptions to operations as an effect of current and future pandemic through the collection of digital data electronically as part of COA's solution to conduct its audit remotely. Meanwhile, the COA Order of Execution Management Information System is an automated system that can help strengthen the enforcement and monitoring of decisions on audit disallowances and charges.

Chairperson Aguinaldo's lecture ended with an open forum. Asked about the solution to chronic corruption, Chairperson Aguinaldo said: "Transparency helps a lot. The more transparent, the more difficult to engage in corrupt or deviant behavior. There may be limitations in audit but may nakikita at may nahuhuli. It is really up to the person’s integrity to say no to corruption."

Chairperson Aguinaldo leads the Commission on a seven-year Strategic Plan that aims to improve the quality and timeliness of audits; enhance the discharge of adjudication and investigatory functions; improve Government Accountancy services; strengthen support to operations; improve general administration and support services; and enhance engagement and cooperation with stakeholders.