Commission on Audit Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo with delegates from other countries at the 2016 Plenary Conference of the Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia (PEMNA)

Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo shared gains in audit transparency through COA’s Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) project as well as COA plans and programs at a conference attended by 300 public expenditure officials and practitioners in Asia and the Pacific.

Chairperson Aguinaldo and COA Commissioner Jose A. Fabia were keynote and plenary speakers, respectively, at the 2016 Plenary Conference of the Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia (PEMNA) hosted by the Philippines from June 8-10, 2016, at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City..

Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad and Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran were also at the opening session to welcome delegates from PEMNA member countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, South Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and Russia. Representatives of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, European Commission, UNICEF, and US Treasury also attended the conference.

Chairperson Aguinaldo reported that since the launch of the CPA in 2012, three successful pilot audits have been implemented: the KAMANAVA flood control project, the Solid Waste Management program in Quezon City, and the barangay health programs in Marikina City.

“Our experience with the CPA project has taught us that even when two groups have very different and sometimes clashing viewpoints, as with state auditors and civil society groups, they can work together to achieve shared goals and aspirations. In this case, to make sure that government agencies implement programs to obtain desired outcomes,” he added.

Chairperson Aguinaldo also shared programs under COA’s new Seven-year Strategic Plan including a program to institutionalize a Change Management Framework where COA will create a Change Management Team to develop strategies on communicating changes, conducting training and coaching plan as well as a plan to use social media to engage the public’s aid in monitoring infrastructure projects. Chairperson Aguinaldo noted that these are plans that are still in its concept stages.

Commissioner Fabia, for his part, gave an update of COA’s continuing audit reforms such as the adoption of an additional three Philippine Public Sector Accounting Standards (PPSSAs) on General Auditing Guidelines on Financial Audit and the approval and prescription of the Revised Chart of Accounts for Local Government Units and the Revised Chart of Accounts for Government Corporations.

The 2016 PEMNA Conference served as a venue for public financial managers in Asia and the Pacific to discuss fiscal transparency and citizen participation and experiences in PFM reform implementation with the perspective of local government as implementers of reform and another session focusing on change management.

Philippine public finance officials emphasized the country’s holistic approach to public expenditure from planning and budgeting to implementation and monitoring as well as audit and reporting.

PEMNA is a peer-learning network of PFM practitioners to help governments across Asia and Pacific countries to improve management of public spending. Past plenary conferences of PEMNA were held in Myanmar, Mongolia, China, and Korea.

Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo with COA Officials, ASEANSAI Sub-project Leaders and GIZ Representative

Proving its commitment to capacity-building and continuing education, the Philippine Commission on Audit (COA) hosted an international meeting of mentors, project leaders and subject matter experts in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) region focusing on the implementation of international standards.

Twenty two participants attended the Long-term ASEANSAI Programme on International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) Implementation (LTAPII) Mentors’ Meeting held at COA’s Professional Development Center from May 31 to June 3, 2016.

COA Assistant Commissioner Luz L. Tolentino is the Overall Project Leader for LTAPII. She was joined by COA Director and ASEANSAI Training Committee Representative Melanie R. Añonuevo and sub-project leaders and mentors from SAIs Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and the Philippines. A representative from GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and a Subject Matter Expert (SME) from the Swedish National Audit Office also participated in the meeting.

The meetings were successful with participants reaching an agreement on the role of the SME for the hot review, cold review and the Quality Assurance (QA) process; the final evaluation tools template and QA checklist; and presentations of the evaluation process by the mentors and discussion of their responsibilities in coordination with the SME. Participants also discussed the agenda for the Audit Review Meeting to be held on July 25-29, 2016 in Thailand.

The event was capped by a city-tour of Manila featuring Intramuros and Rizal Park organized by COA in coordination with the Department of Tourism. #

Participants at the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC) Cross-Agency Training for IAAGCC Specialists with Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo.

The Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC), a voluntary alliance of government agencies aimed at preventing or eliminating graft and corruption in government service through strategic cooperation, conducted a three-day training and workshop for its members held at Tagaytay City from June 1-3, 2016.

The training aimed to improve capacity of IAAGCC members, especially those involved in the investigation and prosecution of graft cases, on fact-finding investigation and preliminary investigation as well as on the Revised Guidelines of Cooperation in the investigation of IAAGCC-certified cases. The training was conducted in cooperation with the United States International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Participants came from IAAGCC member-agencies: the Commission on Audit (COA), the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), the Civil Service Commission, the Department of Justice, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Finance, and the Office of the President.

They were updated on the implementation of anti-corruption laws; the Government Procurement Reform Act; and Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act focusing on plunder, malversation, crimes committed by public officers, bribery and Articles 217 & 218 of the Revised Penal Code. Participants were given insights on the role of the COA in the prevention, detection and prosecution of graft and corruption cases with emphasis on the conduct of fraud audit as well as in the documentary requirements in investigating high-profile cases. Also discussed were asset forfeiture and the various ways the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) can assist IAAGCC specialists in their investigations. Participants were also briefed on the IAAGCC Revised Guidelines of Cooperation.

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COA Commissioner Isabel D. Agito (center) with Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo, Commissioner Jose A. Fabia, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon and the members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) shortly after the CA approved Commissioner Agito’s appointment on May 25, 2016.

May 25, 2016- The Commission on Appointments (CA) has confirmed the ad interim appointment of Commission on Audit (COA) Commissioner Isabel Dasalla-Agito. All CA members agreed when the motion to confirm Commissioner Agito was presented in the plenary.

Commissioner Agito was appointed COA Commissioner by President Benigno S. Aquino III for a term expiring on February 2, 2018. Malacañang announced the appointment on January 15, 2016.

Commissioner Agito is a career official who has been with the COA for more than 39 years. She has audited various national government agencies including the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and Customs, Office of Muslim Affairs and Cultural Communities and the Professional Regulations Commission as well as government corporations such as the Social Security System and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.

Commissioner Agito was a member of COA’s United Nations (UN) audit pool having been assigned to audit the UN Headquarters in New York in 1989-1991 and in 2000. She supervised the Special Task Force on Flagship Projects. She was named Assistant Commissioner, the highest career rank in COA, in August 2008.

Commissioner Agito obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration- Accounting degree from the University of the East (UE) in 1972 and her Bachelor of Laws degree also from UE in 1993. #

The Philippine Commission on Audit (COA) updated its professional standards framework emphasizing independence of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs), good practices of transparency and accountability and revisions on financial, compliance and performance audits guidelines.

COA adopted the Revised Framework of Professional Standards through Resolution No. 2016-007 on May 3, 2016. The framework was based on a study of applicable laws using the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) and in harmony with the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Framework of Professional Standards.

Included in the revised framework is ISSAI 10 or The Mexico Declaration on SAI Independence which sets up eight core principles for SAI independence: existence of an appropriate and effective constitutional/statutory/legal framework; independence of SAI heads and members of collegial institutions; sufficiently broad mandate and full discretion in the discharge of SAI functions; unrestricted access to information; rights and obligation to report on work; freedom to decide the content and timing of audit reports and to publish and disseminate them; existence of effective follow-up mechanisms on SAI recommendations; and financial and managerial/administrative autonomy and the availability of appropriate human, material and monetary resources. ISSAI 10 was approved by INTOSAI members at the XIXth Congress held in Mexico in 2007.

The COA Revised Framework of Professional Standards also include ISSAI 11 on Guidelines and Good Practices Related to SAI Independence, ISSAI 12 on the Value and benefits of Supreme Audit- making a difference to the lives of citizens, and ISSAI 21 on Principles of Transparency and Accountability- Principles and Good Practices.

COA also adopted revisions made by the INTOSAI regarding fundamental concepts and principles of the three types of audit- financial, compliance and performance audits.

COA first issued the Framework of Professional Standards through COA Resolution No. 2013-006 on January 29, 2013 to provide an overview of all the standards and guidelines for public sector auditing, assurance engagements and other related services in the Philippines and to harmonize current standards in the Philippines with international standards on auditing. #