The Commission on Audit is a constitutional body
that serves as the supreme audit institution of the
Philippines. Its role in promoting public
accountability is shown by its functions to audit all
government agencies and instrumentalities including
NGOs that received subsidy from and through the
But there was also the call and encouragement of
the Philippine Constitution of 1986 for people to
form NGOs and POs to protect their welfare and
the common good. In running their affairs, these
NGOs and POs directly and indirectly promote
public accountability and good governance. And so it
happened that promoting honesty, integrity in public
service and fighting graft and corruption, solely and
formerly a domain of government, is now shared by
the NGOs.
Following this development, a reform program “Enhancing
the Public Accountability Program of the Philippine COA:
Participatory Audit with Civic Society Organizations” was
conceptualized by the COA, and NEDA and funded by
the UNDP. In identifying and selecting the CSO partner,
the COA and UNDP used the following criteria:
a)The CSO is actively doing work that promotes transparency
and accountability in government;
b)The CSO has members who possess qualifications that meet
the skills of COA;
c)The CSO will work with COA without pay for its services
except payment for traveling, and appropriate per diems for
days spent in the audit activity; and
d)The CSO is willing to sign a MOA with COA containing the
terms and conditions of both parties including willingness to
work in accordance with COA’s prescribed Code of conduct.
The COA chose the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good
Government (CCAGG) after a series of screening, assessment
and evaluation activities.
The Memorandum of Agreement which was signed provided
that the Participatory Audit Project shall be implemented in
the context of the COA reform program “as a way of
promoting partnership and collaboration with civil society and
enhancing public accountability”. The regional CR director, Dir
Sabiniano Cabatuan as our Project Manager was tasked to
ensure that the audits will be conducted according to the
approved audit work plan. Audit team supervisors were
responsible in preparing the audit work program. The
CCAGG will join the conduct of audits with COA CAR in
accordance with the audit work plan and shall ensure timely
and effective delivery of the audit outputs assigned to them.
The signing of the Memorandum of Agreement took place in
an impressive ceremony at the COA Board Room of the
central office. The COA Chair then was Hon. Celso Gangan.
Commissioners Emmanuel Dalman and Raul Flores, and other
officials of COA like Atty. Elizabeth Zosa, Atty. Isabel Agito ,
Ma’am Emma Espina and many more from UNDP and the
media were present. Some CCAGG members and friends
were there too.
You know that the CCAGG almost backed out of the partnership because
of a provision in the MOA which run counter to what we are doing.
CCAGG monitor government projects and provide feedback to the public
after each monitoring trip. COA countered that there should be no
premature disclosure of audit findings. NEDA even insisted that sufficient
safeguard must be established in order to protect the confidentiality of
public documents and information. Anyway, CCAGG understood the
accountability mechanism which COA and NEDA were stressing and so we
agreed on the point.
After the signing of the MOA, COA and CCAGG sat to identify the
trainings needs to prepared them for field work. The partners underwent
joint trainings on the following:
1.Results Oriented Monitoring and Evaluation
2.Value for Money Audit (VFM) Concepts and Applications
3. Laws in the Conduct of Audit
4.Infrastructure Audit
5.Fraud Audits
6.Audit Evidences
Aside from these trainings, there were also team
buildings, numerous meetings and orientations led
by the COA CAR Regional Director and Project
Manager of Participatory Audit, Sir Sabiniano
Cabatuan. Dir. Cabatuan was very optimistic both
on the partnership and the result of the
participatory audit. He once said to the team “Trust
the auditors and help each other, pinpoint
responsibility, be vigilant on the external forces.
CCAGG planted the first seed, it is now up to COA
and the public to nurture this seed, very few are
buying the concept of Participatory Audit. We are
now the first buyers”.
The COA in collaboration with the NEDA, UNDP
and CCAGG decided to use the value for money
audit. The choice of this form of audit was
prompted by the observation that VFM is very
relevant to the thrust of the government to
promote transparency, people empowerment and
enhancement of public accountability.
Participatory Audit was conducted in 23 road projects of the
Department of Public Works and Highways (DENR) and ten Soil
Conservation and Watershed Management Program of the Dept. of
Environment and Natural Resources (IDENR). What were done in Abra
were replicated in Camarines Norte with the National Urban Poor
Assembly (NUPA) and in Mountain Province with the Social Action
Development Center (SADC).
The experiment partnership of COA, CCAGG, NUPA and SADC was a
success. A manual on Participatory Audit was even written. During its
launching, Mr. Guillermo Carague, the COA Chairman said that the
audits were very focused and efficient. Mr. Terrence Jones, the Resident
Representative of the UNDP also said that the PA is a leading
innovation for a Government and a Civil Society Collaboration towards
the enhancement of accountability and transparency in public affairs. He
further said that the constructive partnership between them in the area
of audit has elicited much interest from the international community.
For the CCAGG, the biggest gain derived from the PA is the realization
that Civil Society Organizations are just as sincere, competent and
effective as government auditors in safeguarding the scarce government
resources and that CSOs can complement the work of government
auditors in spite of the misgivings of some politicians.
Training of Audit Teams
@ Villa La Maja Hotel In Baguio City
of MOA
Launching of the Manual on Participatory Audit
Launching of the Manual
on Participatory Audit
On-site visit to DENR Projects
and Community Meetings
Site monitoring of
DPWH Projects
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