The Commission on Audit (COA) and the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation formed an agreement to increase the efficiency of state audit (control), one of many agreements signed between the Philippines and Russia on the sidelines of the bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Prime Minister Dmitry A. Medvedev on 13 November 2017 during the East Asia Summit hosted by the Philippines.

The Memorandum of Understanding between COA and the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of Russia provides for an exchange of experience and organization of joint research projects and activities of mutual interest, professional training and improvement of professional standards of personnel, exchange of information and reference materials including standards and developments in the sphere of external state audit, conduct of joint and parallel control and expert-analytical activities; and other mutually acceptable forms of cooperation.

“This agreement is based on mutual trust and respect and is an extraordinary opportunity for both of us to learn best practices from each other and improve our respective systems. We look forward to the various joint activities,” Chairperson Aguinaldo said.

Both parties agreed to develop the cooperation based on bilateral basis and within the framework of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions and other cooperation formats.

The agreement called on both parties to act within the limits of their competence and with full respect for the legislation and international obligations of their respective states. 

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) in partnership with the Commission on Audit (COA) conducted the 2017 Gender and Development (GAD) Budget Fora for two different sets of audiences on 9 and 10 November 2017 at the COA Sports and Cultural Center Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.

The forum reoriented budget officers on the Revised Guidelines on the Preparation of the Annual GAD Plans and Budgets and Accomplishment Reports, clarified issues and concerns encountered by agencies in the preparation and implementation of their annual GAD Plans and Budgets; and presented the guidelines in the audit of GAD Funds and activities.

An estimated 470 representatives from national government agencies, attached agencies, bureaus, state universities and colleges and government-owned-and-controlled corporations participated. Also present were representatives from the Department of Budget Management (DBM) and members of the PCW Gender Resource Pool.

COA Assistant Commissioner Elizabeth S. Zosa expressed her hope that the Forum would provide more opportunities for women’s empowerment and contribute to the reduction and eradication of all forms of violence against women.

“The ultimate goal [of the GAD Budget] is to equalize; and when you equalize, you give more to those who have less,” she stressed.

PCW Deputy Directors Maria Kristine Josefina G. Balmes and Cecile B. Gutierrez likewise emphasized that Gender Mainstreaming of which GAD Planning and Budgeting is included should be implemented not merely for compliance but as a strategy ingrained within the organization’s system to address gender issues relevant to the agency mandate. COA was cited as the first agency to reach level four in PCW’s Gender Mainstreaming and Evaluation Framework Assessment Tool.

COA Director and GAD Focal Point System Secretariat Chairperson Fortunata M. Rubico and COA Professional Development Office Assistant Director Susana S. Medez shared the new audit approach and audit areas based on the Revised Guidelines in the Audit of GAD Funds and activities in government agencies (COA Circular 2014-01).

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Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo, COA Commissioner Jose A. Fabia and Institute of Internal Auditors Philippines, Inc. (IIA-P) Chairperson and President Myrna E. Amahan signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on 24 October 2017 at the COA CP Boardroom.

The Commission on Audit (COA) formed a partnership with the Institute of Internal Auditors Philippines, Inc. (IIA-P), a non-stock, non-profit organization that promotes education and professional development for internal audit professionals, to support advocacies and initiatives for a strong internal auditing in the Philippine government.

COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and IIA-P Chairperson and President Myrna E. Amahan signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on 24 October 2017 at the COA CP Boardroom. COA Commissioner Jose A. Fabia witnessed the signing.

The MOA calls for collaborative efforts to establish competency for internal auditors in the public sector and develop programs to level up internal audit to international standards. Both parties will provide opportunities for briefing on internal auditing principles and standards to ensure congruence in the practice of internal audit in the public sector while IIA-P will also provide training related to internal audit.

“Although we are external auditors, part of our role is also to evaluate the strength of internal control systems of government agencies. For this purpose, we have come up with standards by which internal control systems can be evaluated,” Chairperson Aguinaldo said.

‘We appreciate the effort of the Institute because it is important for us to harness stakeholder participation,” he added.

COA issued Resolution No. 2016-016 on 30 September 2016, adopting the Philippine Internal Auditing Framework for Public Sector and Philippine Internal Control Framework for Public Sector. COA also developed the Handbook on Philippine Internal Auditing Standards for the Public Sector to provide applicable guidelines essential for the professional practice of internal auditing and guidance for establishing, implementing and maintaining effective internal control in all government agencies.

Former Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Francisco S. Tantuico, Jr. passed away in the evening of 5 October 2017. He was 87 years old.

Chairman Tantuico was the second Chairman of the audit body when it became a Constitutional Commission under the 1973 Constitution. He held the Commission’s helm from 1975 to 1986. Under his leadership, the Commission underwent comprehensive and far-reaching reforms such as the adoption of comprehensive audit which expanded auditing services to include financial and performance audits; revision of accounting and auditing rules and procedures; and professionalization of the auditing service and organizational restructuring of the Commission. He was also instrumental in the promulgation and issuance of PD 1445 or the General Auditing Code of the Philippines.

Chairman Tantuico established linkages with world audit bodies, paving the way for the Commission’s current respected status in the international audit community. He was a prime mover in the creation of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) in 1979 to improve public audit performance of governments in Asia through training, research and education. He was the first Secretary General of the ASOSAI. Chairman Tantuico was also elected member of the United Nations Board of Auditors in 1984.

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Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioner Jose A. Fabia join delegates to the annual meet of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions Working Group on Public Debt (WGPD). Chairperson Aguinaldo currently chairs the WGPD.

The Philippine Commission on Audit (COA) is hosting their counterparts from the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Working Group on Public Debt (WGPD) for its annual meeting from 27 to 29 September 2017 held in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila.

The WGPD is a specialized body of the INTOSAI tasked to prepare and publish guidelines and other materials for use by Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) to encourage the proper reporting and sound management of public debt, identify key issues for development of responsibilities and procedures for auditing and evaluating debt commitments and exchange knowledge with other institutions dealing with public debt issues, among its many goals.

COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo, who currently Chairs the WGPD, and Commissioner Jose A. Fabia join around 40 delegates from member SAIs - Austria, Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Fiji, Georgia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, South Korea, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, United States of America, Zambia and the Philippines. Representatives from the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), the World Bank and senior experts also participate in the meet. Deputy Treasurer of the Philippines Atty. Erwin D. Sta. Ana was the keynote speaker.

“Public borrowing can be an effective tool for governments to finance its development initiatives so long as the risks are managed properly. As officials of Supreme Audit Institutions, we play a significant role in helping our respective governments manage public debt to sustainable levels,” Chairperson Aguinaldo said.

This is the first time that the COA chairs the WGPD after SAI of Mexico has chaired the international body for 25 years. This will also be the first time the Philippines hosts a meeting of the WGPD.

The agenda includes the launching of the IDI-Handbook on Audit of Lending and Borrowing Frameworks, updating of database of experts in public debt auditing and WGPD projects and activities as well as sharing of best practices from public debt auditing in their respective countries.

INTOSAI established the WGPD in response to strong interest in public debt matters shown by members during the 1989 INTOSAI Congress. INTOSAI is an autonomous, independent and non-political organization that operates as an umbrella organization for the external government audit community. It has special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.