Published: 18 October 2021
Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo emphasized the importance of accountability and ensuring that government managers have carried out their fiscal responsibility properly and effectively as he discussed the constitutional mandate of the COA at a webinar hosted by the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University (NDDU) – Graduate School held on 09 October 2021 via Google Meet.
The webinar with the theme “The Commission on Audit: Ensuring the Integrity and Accountability in Government Services and Building Resiliency towards the COVID-19 Pandemic” was attended by post graduate students and professors of the NDDU.
Chairperson Aguinaldo said that one of COA’s main roles is to determine if Management has carried out its fiscal responsibility properly and effectively as well as to recommend measures to improve efficiency and effectiveness of government operations.
“Fiscal responsibility means that the head of the agency must ensure that the resources of government are managed, expended or utilized in accordance with the laws, rules and regulations, and safeguarded against loss or wastage through illegal or improper disposition, with a view to ensuring efficiency, economy and effectiveness in the operations of government,” he said.
The Chairperson also noted that the Commission is mandated by the Constitution to submit to the President and Congress an annual report on the financial condition and operation of the government. It has regularly submitted the Annual Financial Report for the national government, government corporations and local government units. For FY 2020, COA has transmitted to management 19,743 Consolidated Annual Audit Reports, Annual Audit Reports, Management Letters and Barangay Annual Audit Reports.
On misinterpretation of COA reports, Chairperson Aguinaldo said “As much as possible, we do not use adjectives and just state facts. Unfortunately, no matter how much you improve your report writing, it all depends on interpretation. Some will always slant or select what they put out. Therefore, we just continue to improve how the reports are written,” he observed.
Chairperson Aguinaldo’s presentation also included how taxes are collected and used by the government, the history of the COA, its major functions, the types of audits that COA conducts, the constitutional mandate and duties of COA, myths and misconceptions about the Commission and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and how these were addressed by the Commission.
Issues tackled during the open forum included the deferment of the Government Accounting Manual for the Local Government Units; how lack of manpower to audit a lot of government agencies affects audit reports; who audits COA; and recent issues involving how some government agencies used their COVID-19 funds.
Dr. Olivia T. Sudaria, Graduate School Professor of NDDU, presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Chairperson Aguinaldo. COA Director Jonathan B. Beltran and Gaerly Amparo L. Sison, both from the Commission’s Public Information Office, also attended the webinar