Commission on Audit (COA) Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc was recognized for his exemplary leadership as an officer of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) during PICPA’s recently concluded virtual Appreciation and Graduation Ceremony on 29 June 2021.

Commissioner Pondoc received the Presidential Leadership Award, Outstanding Senior Regional Director award, and Outstanding Chair of Geographical Area Office (Mindanao) award. He was also given the Certificate of Perfect Attendance for attending all of the Regular Monthly National Board of Directors Meeting for FY 2020-2021.

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Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo talked about the Commission’s mandate, programs and projects to ensure transparency and accountability in government as guest of the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s (PCOO) television program “F.Y.I.” hosted by PCOO Undersecretary Atty. Kristian R. Ablan. The interview was taped via Zoom and aired on IBC-13 on 4 July 2021 at 8:30 p.m. The episode was also livestreamed on the F.Y.I. Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FYIPHOfficial).

Putting emphasis on the Commission’s role not only as watchdog of public coffers but also as enablers of government agencies to help them perform their mandates better, Chairperson Aguinaldo said “Ang COA ay isa sa mga ahensya na may mandato to ensure transparency and accountability sa mga ginagawa ng gobyerno. Gusto namin na makita ng mamamayan na may nagbabantay din sa mga buwis at nagagamit ng tama. Hindi po kami kalaban o kaaway ng mga nasa gobyerno. Hindi lang po kami tagahanap ng mali, anomalya o katiwalian. Nakikita namin ang aming mga sarili bilang partners in nation building.

Itong pandemya ay malaki ang epekto sa atin. Of course, we want to ensure accountability but at the same time ayaw po naming maging hadlang sa mga relief efforts kaya marami po kaming inisyu na mga opinions, mga Circulars to address these lalo na sa mga initiatives ng DSWD at GPPB to make things simpler especially a year ago to make sure people get the support they needed from government gaya ng SAP at mga donations but at the same time maintaining that government officials still have to be accountable,” he observed.

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The International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Working Group on Public Debt (WGPD), led by the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of the Philippines, and the World Bank teamed up to successfully organize a series of events as part of the ”Debt Management Auditors Week” from 14 to 18 June 2021. The objective of the events is to enhance outreach to auditors and strengthen debt management.

The first event was a five-day virtual training on Regional Debt Management Performance Assessment (DeMPA) Workshop for Debt Managers and External Auditors. The training was designed to provide an understanding of the rationale, scope, coverage, and application of the revised DeMPA methodology to debt management practitioners and external auditors. WGPD member-SAIs Brazil, Egypt, North Macedonia, and Bhutan participated in the training.

Meanwhile, public debt auditors and debt managers participated in the webinar on the Role of External Audits in Improving Public Debt Management held on 18 June 2021. The said webinar included a presentation from WGPD Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo who talked about the importance of audits of debt management, collaboration between DMOs and the SAIs, and the challenges and opportunities faced by SAIs in audits of debt management. Providing complementary views to such presentation were WGPD members, Ms. Dawn Simpson of the US Government Accountability Office and Mr. Branko Smilevski of the SAI of North Macedonia.

Capping off the week-long event was a special virtual session for public debt auditors on How INTOSAI Builds Capacity of Auditors. The session aimed to foster a candid exchange on the challenges experienced in the conduct of performance audits for public debt management (PDM) and uncover insights on additional support and capacity-building needs towards strengthening PDM outcomes. Mr. Anibal Kohlubher of SAI Argentina, in his presentation, tackled the INTOSAI capacity building programmes and initiatives and how these efforts impact the audits performed by SAIs. Meanwhile, Ms. Jonna Carlson of SAI Finland shared her experience in the performance audit of public debt in their country. Participants to the said event mostly included public debt auditors from WGPD member-SAIs.

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Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Chairperson Sandra S. Montano paid a courtesy call to Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo on 2 June 2021.

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Auditing public debt in a crisis (COVID-19 considerations and the Public Debt Auditor’s experience) was the focus of discussions at the annual meeting of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Working Group on Public Debt (WGPD). The virtual meetings conducted through Zoom were facilitated by the Philippine Commission on Audit (COA) as Chairman of the INTOSAI WGPD.

Around 38 member countries participated in the meetings that were held in two batches on 19 and 20 May 2021 for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Officials from SAIs Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lithuania, Moldova, Qatar, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Seychelles, Maldives, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Indonesia, Thailand, China, and Fiji were part of the first batch while SAIs Ecuador, Chile, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Gabon, Portugal, Austria, Egypt, Northern Macedonia, Zambia, Finland, Bulgaria, Romania, and Korea were part of the second batch. Representatives from SAI France attended as observers.

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