Marikina City- From a materials recovery facility (MRF) in a barangay to an urban garden tended by high school students, delegates at the 16th Assembly Meet of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI)-Working Group on Environmental Audit (WGEA) were shown around Marikina City’s environment showcases.

Around 100 audit officials from 45 countries took a closer look at how pigswill is converted to organic fertilizer at a MRF in Barangay Concepcion as part of the city’s zero waste management program; visited the city’s composting facility, plastic styro densifier and the engineering center which houses the central warehouse and steel fabrication; and toured Parang High School which was awarded as an environment-friendly school by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“Marikina is situated in valley and is a catch basin for other neighboring cities. The challenge is to cope with the demands of progress and the environment. We have focused on programs to conserve the environment not only in Marikina but also in other cities. One thing is for certain, we have to take care of our environment,” said Marikina City Administrator Melvin Cruz. Cruz welcomed the delegates in behalf of City Mayor Del de Guzman.

Gloria Buenaventura, head of the City Environmental Management Office, discussed the city’s environmental best practices. Known as a model city in terms of cleanliness, Marikina passed several ordinances to conserve the environment including prohibition on the improper disposal of garbage, "Anti-Littering Code of Marikina" which imposes Php500 fine on violators, and requiring all residential and commercial establishments to clean their surroundings and segregation at source of all garbage into wet or biodegradable and dry or non-biodegradable, among others.

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The Philippine Commission on Audit (COA) will host around 100 audit officials from 45 countries at the 16th assembly meeting of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Working Group on Environmental Audit (WGEA) from September 29 to October 2, 2014.

“Our recent audits on the Philippines’ disaster management system and in particular the Special Report on Typhoon Yolanda emphasizes the importance of exposing the areas that need improvement in the country’s disaster preparedness and response capabilities and in improving transparency and accountability in the use of disaster funds and resources. Disaster risk reduction, however, is only one concern among many on environment protection and sustainable development that will surely be discussed in the meet,” said COA Commissioner Heidi L. Mendoza.

“It is important for us to exchange knowledge, to learn from each other’s experiences and to join in cooperative audit engagements because environment issues go beyond national borders,” added Commissioner Mendoza.

Senator Loren B. Legarda, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. Paje and Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla will join experts from the European Environment Agency, the United Nations Environment Programme, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia, and INTOSAI Development Initiative, among other keynote speakers.

WGEA aims to improve the use of audit mandate and audit instruments in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development. It is the largest working group of the INTOSAI, with 77-member countries.

Indonesia is the current chair of the WGEA with the Philippine COA as member of the steering committee along with Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Czech Republic, European Court of Auditors, Egypt, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Lesotho, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, and the United States



QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES– The Commission on Audit (COA), together with the Australian Government, launched the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Accounting and Reporting Guidelines on August 15, 2014 at the COA-PIDS Auditorium. These guidelines aim to further improve transparency and accountability in the use of disaster funds. “Benchmarked against the International Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions, these will ensure that all disaster-related funds and donations are properly accounted for and efficiently utilized. They will fill in the gaps on disaster aid audit,” said COA Chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido Tan.

With the recent typhoons and other calamities, the Philippine government was faced with the challenge of protecting disaster aid funds without impeding response time and recovery assistance. In the case of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the public clamored for transparency on the use of government funds and other contributions from local and international donors.

“The use of the Disaster Accounting Guidelines will make the Filipino people confident on how disaster funds are allocated, utilized, and accounted for,” said Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell. “This initiative aligns well with Australia’s new performance framework that aims to enhance accountability and effectiveness of development aid.”

Over 100 participants were present at the launch, including other development partners and key officials of national government agencies involved in disaster risk reduction and management. An Executive Briefing followed in the afternoon showcasing an overview of the DRRM accounting guidelines.



Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Maria Gracia M. Pulido Tan shared about the Philippine experience on Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) at the South Asian Regional Virtual Learning Series of the World Bank Institute (WBI) on June 10, 2014.

Through video conferencing, Chairperson Pulido Tan discussed how the CPA was conceptualized, the ways by which non-government stakeholders engage in the audit process, and various joint capacity building activities undertaken by the COA. She presented before her counterparts in the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

“This is a priority program, founded on the premise that public accountability can prosper only with a vigilant citizenry,” Chairperson Pulido Tan said.

Chairperson Pulido Tan elaborated on some of the results of three pilot audits on the CAMANAVA Flood Control Project, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and Barangay Health Centers, and the Solid Waste Management Project of Quezon City. She also gave inputs on the steps to institutionalize the program.

Through the CPA, audits are conducted with citizen representatives included in the team to educate citizens in the audit process and encourage vigilant participation in exacting government accountability. The audit is under the direct supervision and control of the COA.

Assistant Auditor General Mr. Babu Ram Gautam of Nepal also shared the roadmap of citizen engagement in Nepal focusing on how the process begun, the merits in citizen engagement and capacity support and platform collaboration.

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Before Chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido Tan’s presentation last May 22, 2014 at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. From left with Chairperson Pulido Tan: Director Danilo Cabug, Director Lito Martin, WHO Comptroller Nick Jeffreys, WHO Internal Oversight Services Director David Webb and Director Ma. Louisa Gonzales. (Photo courtesy of Dir. Gonzales)

 

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND -- Chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido Tan presented the Report of the External Auditor during the Plenary Session of the 67th World Health Assembly last May 22, 2014 at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters.

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