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.



The SAI Philippines’ Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) program was conferred a Special Mention Award from the Jury of Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), a multi-stakeholder action network to advance fiscal transparency, public participation, and accountability around the world on September 2017.

GIFT has already featured the COA’s CPA program in its Guide on Public Participation Principles and Mechanisms, and has published a case study on the CPA as part of efforts to share with practitioners success experience in public participation in fiscal policies.

The Project Management Office of the Commission spearheaded the implementation of the CPA as a reform strategy and audit technique to engage civil society organizations (CSOs) and citizens in the public audit process to improve transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources. The COA implements the CPA with its civil society partner, Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP) with funding support from the Australian Government-Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The World Bank, and Making All Voices Count (MAVC).

Taking home the top prizes for the GIFT Award were the Cascais Participatory Budgeting implemented by the Municipality of Cascais, Portugal; the Farm Subsidies: Public participation to improve the situation of small farmers in Mexico that was executed by the CSO Fundar, Center for Analysis and Research; and Georgia’s Budget Monitor which was implemented by the State Audit Office.

It can be recalled that the CPA project was the recipient of the first Open Government Partnership (OGP) Bright Spots Award during the 2013 Global Summit in London. It is also one of the twelve commitments under the PH-OGP National Action Plan for 2017-2019.



As the Champion/Lead Office in pursuing Operational Plan Goal E – COA Strategic Plan 2016-2022, the HRMO, in its aim to intensify partnership agreements with external sources drove another campaign activity alongside the Oath Taking Ceremony of new Certified Public Accountants (CPA) at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on June 29, 2017.

More than 3,389 high-spirited CPAs seized the Plenary Hall as they sanguinely took oath in the presence of representative from high-esteemed government agencies such as Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Budget and Management and giant private accounting firms ready to attract fresh licensed professionals.

During the activity, a CPA who has committed a contract with a private firm expressed interest in submitting application to COA after the termination of said contract. In another instance, a parent, who was a former government employee, encouraged his daughter to consider a career in COA as he knows the significant role of State Auditors in the country’s development.

Meanwhile, the partnership agreement called “Academe-Industry Linkage” between the Commission on Audit (COA) thru the HRMO and the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) Career Center took the HRMO team to TIP Career Center Mock Interview Activity. It however revealed that about 80% percent of over a hundred participants labeled as future specialists in the fields of Civil Engineering and Architecture are not aware of possible opportunities for Engineers and Architects in the Commission. With an average of more than two thousand graduates it produces every year, TIP appears to be a good potential source of competitive recruits for the Commission in the coming years.

The COA-HRMO team who conducted the said activities was composed of Ms. Ana Maria P. Santiago, Ms. Albe Victoria B. Alimurung, Mr. Joseph S. Del Rosario Jr., Ms. Ma. Dea Vernice A. Estomo and Mr. Melvin P. Lacsie, under the supervision of Ms. Imelda V. Clave, Officer-in-Charge, Human Resource Policy Studies and Standard Services and Directors Marie Macel O. Tejada and Noel B. Clemente, HRMO, in coordination with the Public Information Office, Office of the Chairperson, represented by Ms. Gaerly Amparo L. Sison.

 

With the increase in campaign activities, the HRMO believes that young talents from various specializations will be informed of a promising career path and the institution’s noble mandate, and kindle in them a desire to become a part of the country’s supreme audit institution.



As a result of the declining purchasing power of the Philippine peso and due to the rising cost of consumer products and services, the Commission on Audit (COA) recently released COA Circular No. 2017-001 stating that official receipts are no longer needed as supporting documents for expenses amounting to P300 or less that are incurred by government officials and employees while in the performance of their official functions.

The new Circular aims to simplify the reimbursement of expenses that do not require official receipts. However, government officials and employees are still required to submit a certification for expenses P300 or less as supporting document in order for the reimbursement to be processed.

On the other hand, for payment of fares in public utility vehicles (PUVs) issuing receipts such as bus, train, vessel/ship; and purchases in business establishments issuing receipts, official receipts are still needed to facilitate the reimbursement of expenses even if the amount is P300 or less.

The new Circular was signed by the Commission Proper on 19 June 2017 and will take effect fifteen days from the date of publication in a newspaper of general circulation. The Circular was published in the Philippine Star and BusinessWorld on 28 June 2017. - By Dennis Cariño

To view COA Circular No. 2017-001 dated June 19, 2017, click here