Navotas City gets the highest audit rating from COA

Marje Pelayo   •   August 20, 2021   •   214

MANILA, Philippines —  The city of Navotas received the highest rating from state auditors, according to Mayor Toby Tiangco.

In his announcement on Thursday evening (August 19) on Twitter, the city Mayor attached a copy of the statement from the Commission on Audit (COA) on the audit findings for Navotas city.

“The Auditor rendered an unmodified opinion on the fairness of presentation of the financial statements of the City,” the statement said, signed by COA Regional Director IV Omar Roque.

Tiangco said it was the sixth time the city received such a rating from COA.

“Ito ang pinakamataas na audit rating na ibinibigay sa mga ahensya at tanggapan ng gobyerno. Sa buong Metro Manila, tayo lamang ang LGU na may ganitong record,” he said.

He added that the city managed to push through some of its important projects even under tight budget as it needed to shift its resources to COVID response.

“Hindi po naging madali ang nakalipas na taon dahil kinailangan nating ihinto ang ilan sa ating mga proyekto at programa para matugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng lungsod laban sa COVID-19,” he said.

“Pinilit nating mapag-abot ang maliit nating budget para matugunan ito at patuloy pa ring makapaghatid ng de-kalidad na serbisyo,” he added.

The mayor vows to maintain the city’s high performance rating which he said he owes to the people of Navotas.

Doctors group urges Duterte to reverse order barring Cabinet members from attending Senate hearing

Maris Federez   •   October 11, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — A group of doctors appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to reverse his order barring  Cabinet members from attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing on the alleged anomalous procurement of COVID-19 supplies.

The group wants the Senate hearing to continue the hearing, questioning why the Department of Health (DOH) transferred the said procurement to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

This, despite the earlier clarification made by the Commission on Audit that there was no overpricing in the procurement of COVID-19 supplies and that the said government transaction went through careful inspection.

“Kung bakit ipinasa ng Department of Health ang pagbili nung mga protective equipment na ito sa Department of Budget (and Management), sa DBM. ‘Yun pa lang hindi ma-explain, kase ang ipinapasa lang po talaga sa DBM ay yung mga administrative. ‘Yung mga may kinalaman sa administrative part which means yung mga office supplies, ang mga protective equipment, definitely this is a health. This should actually belong to the Department of Health,” said the group’s president, Dr. Maricar Limpin.

The group also defended the manner of questioning of some senators on the resource persons, saying that there was no bullying that was taking place during the hearing.

“Sa paningin ko yun ay part ng pagku-cross examine, at different personalities have different way of trying to get information. Whatever form na ginagawa nila in order to extract the truth, kase hindi siya maliit na pera. Forty-two billion. At napunta po iyong deal na iyan, yung kontrata, sa isang maliit na kumpanya,” Dr. Anthony Leachon, former president of PCP, said.

The group appeals to the Senate to finish the hearing on the said issue and forward the result of their investigation to the Department of Justice or the Office of the Ombudsman for appropriate action.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the administration will no longer allow Cabinet members and other officials in the Executive Department to attend any succeeding Senate hearings.

“In fact, they appeared before 12 hearings of the Senate and the House and he only said itigil na iyan, after 12. Kasi wala namang bago pong tinatanong at walang bagong sagot,” Roque said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)

Deployment of resident ombudsmen to graft-prone agencies to start this month — DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The deployment of prosecutors and state auditors who will serve as resident ombudsmen to government agencies prone to corruption is expected to begin this month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

This is after the DOJ, together with the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the Ombudsman, signed a memorandum of agreement that would deputize DOJ prosecutors and COA auditors as resident ombudsmen.

Their tasks include the following:

  • Bring to host government agencies the Ombudsman’s frontline services by acting on complaints and reports against officials and employees of the said agencies
  • Serve as watchdogs and implementors or corruption prevention program
  • Monitor compliance with existing anti-graft laws and regulations

“The MOA synergizes the investigatory powers of the Office of the Ombudsman, DOJ, and COA in the implementation of anti-corruption measures, this aiding the OMB and the COA in carrying out their respective mandates while also serving as a mechanism for the DOJ to attain the objectives of the Task Force Against Corruption,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“The OMB, COA, and DOH shall jointly enter into agreements with partner agencies regarding the terms of deployment of the resident Ombudsmen, which is expected to start rolling this month,” it added.

This development comes after COA included in its report alleged “deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s use of COVID-19 funds.

The issue has prompted Congressional hearings on the utilization of DOH’s funds for COVID-19 response.

Palace insists COA has jurisdiction to audit Red Cross, other NGOs

Robie de Guzman   •   September 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday maintained that the Commission on Audit (COA) has the authority to look into the finances of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and its use of funds received from the government.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that under the Philippine Constitution, COA can scrutinize the use of funds by NGOs “receiving subsidy or equity directly or indirectly from or through the government.”

The PRC is a non-governmental humanitarian organization.

Roque said that several COA issuances also allow special audits on the PRC.

“May hurisdiksyon ho ba ang Commission on Audit sa Philippine Red Cross? Ang sagot, meron po,” he said in a Palace briefing.

Roque said the state auditor should particularly look into the agreement entered into by the PRC with Metro Manila mayors and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) on the COVID-19 RT-PCR testing.

He also pointed out that under existing law, the PRC is mandated to submit a yearly financial report to the President as its honorary chairman.

Roque said that the agency has not submitted any report since 2016.

“Malinaw kasi po na nakalagay sa PRC charter na hindi ito maaaring kumita habang ginagampanan nito ang kanyang mandato… Simula 2016, wala pong isinumiteng ang PRC sa presidente ng Pilipinas na annual report, laman ng kanilang gawain at nagpakita ng kanilang financial conditions tulad ng pinag-uutos ng RA 10072,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier lashed out at PRC’s chairman, Senator Richard Gordon, for questioning the transactions made by the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gordon is spearheading a Senate inquiry into the government’s alleged procurement of overpriced medical supplies and equipment last year.

Duterte also accused Gordon of using the PRC to further his political career.

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