Published: 20 May 2014
Reflecting the Commission on Audit’s (COA’s) milestone 115th year theme “COA: Sulong Tungo sa Marangal na Adhikain,” the awardees of this year’s COA Salutes the Best program exemplified integrity and honor. The tribute to the exemplary audit performances, held at the COA Cultural and Sports Complex on May 8, 2014, highlights the week-long celebration of the Commission’s anniversary.
“I am proud and joyful that we have come this far in three years. Our crop of this year’s COA’s Best is a testament to our collective efforts at integrity, at being “marangal,” observed COA Chairperson Maria Gracia M. Pulido Tan.
For the first time, the honor program was expanded to include awardees from the regions as well as individual awards categorized into various salary grades.
Recognized as the over-all most outstanding audit team was the team that conducted the Special Audit of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Various Infrastructure Including Local Projects covering the period 2007-2009 amounting to P8.374 billion and P32.664 billion, respectively.
The audit not only caught media attention but also made the public more vigilant in the use of public funds by government officials. More importantly, the audit influenced positive changes in national policies including the landmark decision of the Supreme Court declaring as unconstitutional all PDAF provisions from 1991 to 2013.
Meanwhile, the over-all awardees for the Most Outstanding Men/Women of COA were Auditors Rita R. Pablo of Region II and Daisy O. Bercede of Region VII for Level II (SG 11-24) and Mr. Ray A. Valencia of Region VII for Level I (SG 01-10).
Auditor Pablo displayed unwavering commitment in the discharge of duties as audit team leader of the Provincial Government of Isabela causing the refund of P25 million from the PDAF of two legislators. Auditor Bercede, on the other hand, led the audit investigation of Talisay City College (TCC) uncovering unreceipted collections of at least P10 million that resulted in the issuance of a Notice of Charge and a recommendation by the TCC Board of Directors to remove the accountable official.
Showing that excellence in performing one’s job matters no matter the position, Mr. Valencia contributed to his office’s efficiency by acting as researcher through his own initiative.
Judged the Most Outstanding COA Official was Auditor Crescencia L. Escurel of the Corporate Government Sector Cluster 6. Auditor Escurel closely monitored her Notices of Disallowance resulting in the refund of millions of pesos to the government and dismissal from service of accountable officials.
A Posthumous Special Award was given to Auditor Esther P. Galarosa who lost her life in the line of duty. Auditor Galarosa was shot by unidentified gunmen during the period she was conducting cash examination.
The over-all Skilled Service Award went to Region III’s Mr. Ramon M. Galang who is regarded as a “jack of all trades” working tirelessly for a more comfortable work environment.
While honoured as the over-all Oldest and Most Productive COA Retiree was Ms. Florencia G. Pesquera of Region VII. At 77 years old, Ms. Pesquera is actively involved in socio-civic organizations as president of their homeowners association, auditor of the Federation of Senior Citizens’ Multi-purpose Cooperative, Central Visayas, officer of the Feliciana Abrafunio Realty Corp. and board of director of the Government Association of Certified Public Accountants Cebu Chapter, among her many accomplishments.
The regional awardees for the outstanding audit teams were: the Special Audit of the Municipality of Tanudan, Province of Kalinga from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); the Audit of Three Barangays & Municipality of Norzagaray, Bulacan from Region III; the Special Audit of the Municipality of Mindoro from Region IV-B; the Audit of the Land Transportation Office, Cebu City from Region VII; and the conduct of Inspection/Evaluation of the project Construction Road in Kauswagan and Bonbon, Butuan City from Region XIII.
Recognized as the Outstanding Men/Women of COA regional awardees Level II were Auditors Anita D. Cayat of CAR, Mirasol B. Liwanag of Region III, and Cenon T. Tesorero of Region XII and Engineer Junrey E. Labatos of Region XIII.
Mr. Manuel F. Dinopol of Region VII was the regional awardee in the Skilled Service category while Mesdames Concepcion A. Jayag of Region XII and Catalina P. Chan of Region XIII were the regional awardees in the Oldest and Most Productive COA Retirees category.
The Commission also acknowledged COAns who have been in service for more than 40 years.
The 115th COA anniversary celebration opened with religious activities for various denominations and the parade of athletes and personnel on May 5, 2014. The momentous occasion also included the Citizen Participatory Audit project turn-over, a sports festival, various symposia and livelihood fora, an art exhibit and the Mr. and Ms. COA pageant. # - Liz Cabalfin