COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo was guest speaker during the induction ceremony for the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers 2020 National Officers and Directors held on 18 January 2020 at Seda Vertis North Hotel in Quezon City.
Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and AMA University Chairman Dr. Amable R. Aguiluz V sign a Memorandum of Agreement for the provision of scholarship programs to employees of the Commission on 20 January 2020.
Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc with COA Officials during the Strategic Planning held at the Professional Development Center on 11 February 2020.
Former Assistant Commissioner Lourdes M. Castillo, Director Fortunata M. Rubico and Director Jonathan B. Beltran join resource persons from the Climate Change Commission during the Gender and Climate Change Orientation for the Commission on Audit on 3 to 4 March 2020.
Dr. Reynaldo O. Samson, from the Philippine National Police, discusses National Security, Local Security and Company Physical Security during the Symposium on Public Safety and Personal Security on 2 March 2020 at PIDS Auditorium.
Participants of the Advance Performance Audit Course held at the Professional Development Center on 10 February 2020.
COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and COA Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc with Calamba Representative Joaquin M. Chipeco, Jr., Calamba City Mayor Justin Marc SB. Chipeco and COA Regional Office IV-A Director Mario G. Lipana lead the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Provincial Satellite Auditing Office in Calamba, Laguna on 11 February 2020.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) expressed its gratitude to the Commission on Audit (COA) and its Chairperson, Atty. Michael G. Aguinaldo, for extending the relaxation of its auditing rule to expedite the release of the funds for the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program - Emergency Subsidy Program (SAP-EAP) to aid those greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its press statement posted on their website last 30 May 2020, the DSWD thanked the Commission for granting the agency’s request to extend the relaxing of the rule under COA Circular No. 2016-002 requiring a “Certification by the Accountant that the funds previously transferred to the Implementing Agency has been liquidated and accounted for in the books, as a prerequisite to the succeeding release of funds” specific to the DSWD’s request and for the duration of the present crisis.
The DSWD specifically asked to relax the rule requiring the submission of liquidation reports by the implementing agency prior to the subsequent transfer of funds in order for the DSWD to proceed with the distribution of the second tranche of the SAP-EAP to eligible beneficiaries.
“Nagpapasalamat ang DSWD sa sambayanang Pilipino, sa inyong pagtitiwala sa lahat ng ahensya ng pamahalaan na nakikipaglaban para sa kabutihan ng bawat pamilya sa panahon ng pandemiyong COVID-19,” the DSWD said of the COA.
The Commission allowed the DSWD to rely on a signed Sangguniang Barangay Resolution or a Barangay Council Resolution attesting that the identified beneficiaries are eligible and qualified under DSWD-DOLE-DTI-DA-DOF-DBM-DILG JMC No. 1 and DSWD MC No. 09-2020 in lieu of the liquidation report.
However, all Local Chief Executives must submit their duly accomplished completed full liquidation reports within three months from the lifting of the declaration of the State of Calamity. COA also said that the actual transfer of funds to the local government units and disbursements shall be subject to regular post audit The Commission also reminded the DSWD to submit the reports required by oversight agencies, including the budget and financial accountability reports to the Department of Budget and Management and to the COA.
The Philippines ranked tenth (10th) out of 117 countries for budget transparency according to results of the 2019 Open Budget Survey (OBS) conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP). The country garnered a score of 76 in the area of budget transparency.
The country also scored high in audit oversight with 89 points. Audit oversight together with legislative oversight form one of the areas assessed by the OBS.
The IBP said the OBS is the world’s only independent and comparative measure of fiscal transparency, public participation, and oversight at the central government level. The OBS evaluates three areas: public access to relevant information on key budget documents, public participation in the budget process, and assurance of budget oversight by independent legislatures and audit institutions.
New Zealand and South Africa were joint first place with a budget transparency score of 87, followed by Sweden (86), Mexico (82), Georgia (81), Brazil (81), Norway (80), and Australia (79), with the United States and Peru also scoring 76.
The Philippines also scored the highest in Southeast Asia for budget transparency and also scored higher than other Asian countries such as Japan (62) and South Korea (62).
The OBS said the legislature and the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) in the Philippines provided adequate budget oversight with a composite score of 74. Individually, the audit oversight scored 89 while the legislative oversight scored 67.
The IBP said SAIs verify the accuracy and reliability of public accounts, ensure that public funds are spent according to the law and warrant the efficiency and effectivity of public spending. The IBP also noted the role of auditors in ensuring that relevant institutions take requisite action on audit findings and remedy issues identified in audit recommendations.
The country’s Citizen Participatory Audit was given special mention as an example of proactive engagement of the public. “The Citizen Participatory Audits practiced in the Philippines, where citizens and CSOs jointly conduct audits along with the Commission on Audit, is an example of another emerging practice that directly involves program beneficiaries in audit investigations,” the OBS said.
In terms of public participation in the budget process, the country scored 31 which is significantly above the global average score of 14.
Commission on Audit (COA) auditors Mae Diane M. Azores and Myra M. Baranda of COA Regional Office No. V topped the 2019 Bar Examinations. Azores ranked first with a score of 91.0490% and Baranda was third with a score of 88.8250%. Both are from the University of Sto. Tomas-Legazpi (formerly Aquinas University) and are Certified Public Accountants.
Azores is a State Auditing Examiner II and an audit team member of CAAP Area Center 5, Corporate Government Sector (CGS), Cluster 4, COA Regional Office No. V. Meanwhile, Baranda has been with the Commission for the last five years and is assigned at the Daraga City auditing unit.
“My warmest congratulations to Attys. Azores and Baranda and all the Bar passers from the Commission on Audit. As you enjoy the fruit of your hard work, I encourage you to uphold justice especially for those who have less in life and live with integrity and professionalism. You have made all of us in the COA family proud,” said COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo.
In an interview with DZMM, Azores said she prepared for the examinations by waking up daily at 4 am and studying for more than ten hours. "No dream is ever big, especially po sa provincial schools. We can always dream bigger. Kung iisipin talaga natin, kung kaya talaga, kaya talaga siya. Tiwala lang sa Diyos. Dasal lang talaga," Azores said in another interview with ABS-CBN News.
Baranda, for her part, said in an interview with Rappler that she wanted to remain as an auditor for the people and that she owed a lot to COA for letting her stay in Albay which allowed her to go to law school. “Ang gusto ko sa pagiging state auditor, yung interaction sa tao, naririnig mo yung hinaing nila, ever time na nag-thank you sila, fulfilling sa ‘yo na nakatulong ka in a small way,” Baranda said to Rappler.
According to the Supreme Court, there were 2,103 successful examinees out of the 7,685 who completed the Bar exams.