Ever wonder who checks if government agencies and employees are spending public money responsibly? The Commission on Audit (COA) is the answer. Established by the Constitution, the COA is responsible for auditing all branches of government as well as state-owned and controlled corporations.
The COA is, in fact, one of the most important agencies in the Philippines. It holds powerful sway over all other government bodies, as it must perform an annual audit of its finances and operations. The agency also has the power to issue subpoenas, investigate corruption cases if necessary, and even recommend criminal charges.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the most important facts about the COA, including its history, mandate, as well as its programs and key services. Read on.
What is the Meaning and Purpose of COA?
The Commission on Audit or COA is an independent body that aims to ensure that the public is informed about the activities of the government. It also promotes transparency and helps improve the efficiency of government.
Its mandate is to ensure that the government’s funds are used properly and for their intended purposes. It also oversees the operations of all government offices and agencies, including their accountability to citizens.
Since the Spanish colonial era, auditing has been regarded as a tool that can help improve the governance of governments. One of the most prominent examples of this is the residencia, an inquiry conducted by the Royal Audiencia to investigate the activities of the governor-general and other officials.
One of the most common inspection visits was the visita de tierra, which is an annual inspection that’s conducted for three years. This inspection revealed various anomalies in the way the local government accounts are handled.
During the colonial era, officials also conducted investigations similar to audits. One example was the galleon trade fraud investigation that was carried out in the 1700s. Another inspection was carried out on the Misericordia de Manila in 1751.
In 1739, a Royal Decree was issued by the King of Spain that established the Royal Exchequer. This department was responsible for overseeing the financial activities of the Spanish colonial government. All of the books of accounts of the government were required to undergo scrutiny and certification.
The Tribunal de Cuentas was established in the 19th century to serve as the central authority for overseeing the financial activities of the Spanish colonial government. It was headed by a president and two auditors. It was also responsible for conducting regular audits and reviewing all of the government’s financial transactions. All of the members of the tribunal were appointed by the King. These individuals were required to check all of the vouchers that were issued by the government.
When it comes to establishing a new government, it requires a combination of prudence and boldness. During the early stages of its operation, the Philippine government was being heavily promoted by its American rulers. President McKinley also ensured that the financial activities of the government were conducted in a prudent manner.
On May 8, 1899, President McKinley signed a memorandum that established the Office of the Auditor for Philippine Islands. This department was responsible for monitoring the financial activities of the government.
By 1900, the Office of the Auditor had become a fixture in the government. In 1901, the civil government was established as part of the new administration of William Howard Taft. One of the changes that occurred in the structure of government was the establishment of the Bureau of the Insular Auditor.
The name of the Bureau was changed to the Bureau of the Insular Auditor. Another change that occurred in the structure of government was the establishment of a provincial audit division. This department was also responsible for implementing double-entry bookkeeping.
In 1905, Taft stepped down as the Civil Governor. Luke Wright was then appointed as the new Governor General. Following his departure, Act 1402 was passed, which officially changed the name of the Bureau of the Insular Auditor to the Bureau of Audits.
The establishment of the Office of the Auditor was also marked by the passage of the 1935 Constitution, which provided for the establishment of a General Auditing Office. This led to the department’s name being changed to the General Auditing Office. This department was also established as part of the government’s transition to a self-governance system.
Jaime Hernandez was appointed as the new Auditor General of the Philippines. This was the first time that a Filipino was appointed as the head of an auditor general in the country.
The establishment of the General Auditing Office was regarded as a significant step in the establishment of the independent audit institution. It gave the auditor general the power to control and separate the organization from other government departments.
After the country was placed under martial law in 1972, the General Auditing Office was not exempted from the changes. In 1973, the organization was renamed as the Commission on Audit. It was given additional powers under the new Constitution, which allowed it to expand its scope of operations. This new Constitution also included the accounts of various government agencies and subdivisions.
The Constitution provided for the establishment of a three-member Commission on Audit, which was different from the single-member office that was previously handled by the auditor general. This new structure was designed to enhance the independence of the organization and improve its decision-making capabilities. It also allowed for the exchange of ideas and suggestions, which resulted in better deliberation. The Commission on Audit was built on an internal check, which allowed for more effective and efficient management.
In the years that followed, the Commission has been a hub of activity. In 1978, a comprehensive legislation on auditing was issued by the President. Another important legislation was also passed that provided for the establishment of a standard government chart of accounts. This was designed to help improve the efficiency of the financial operations of the government.
The Commission then launched a comprehensive program that was designed to improve the efficiency of its operations. It was focused on three key areas: economy, effectiveness, and compliance. This new approach was a departure from the traditional emphasis on voucher and compliance audits. In addition, the organization also underwent a massive reorganization.
The years that followed were marked by the significant involvement of the Commission in various international events. One of these was the establishment of an Asian organization that was designed to help improve the standards of audit in the region. In 1983, the Commission was also able to host an international congress of the Supreme Audit Institutions of China. During this time, a member of the Commission was also elected to the Board of Auditors of the United Nations.
The events of the 1986 EDSA Revolution highlighted the need for government reforms. It provided an opportunity for everyone to reflect on their own shortcomings and improve the efficiency of the government. As a result, the Commission was able to work under a new government and gain even broader authority.
The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines provided the Commission with the necessary independence to carry out its duties as the country’s top auditor. It also ensured that the organization was the only agency that was authorized to carry out independent audits of government agencies and corporations.
The Constitution also prohibited the hiring of private accounting firms by government agencies and corporations to carry out foreign-assisted projects. This was a significant change in the way the country’s public agencies conducted their operations.
It is widely believed that change is the Commission’s destiny. However, as history has shown, even when the changes brought about by political events are minor, the organization still manages to make them better.
Source: COA official website
Functions and Responsibilities
The COA is responsible for the audit and examination of all government agencies, including government-owned or controlled corporations. It also audits and examines local governments, including component cities and municipalities.
The Commission has exclusive authority to audit the accounts of all courts in the country, except for cases involving impeachment offenses committed by public officials who Congress impeaches. The Commission also has authority over auditing firms that provide services to private entities such as banks and other financial institutions.
Laws Enacted by the COA
Anti-Graft Law (RA 3019) – The act of taking advantage of one’s position to acquire something of value or money is defined as a violation of RA 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-corruption and Corrupt Practices Act. It can be done through illegal means, such as the use of government resources.
E-commerce Law (RA 8792) – The objective of RA 8792 is to facilitate the exchange of information and transactions involving international and domestic entities. It also aims to promote the use of electronic documents in the government and the general public. Through the use of electronic and optical medium, the law aims to ensure that the documents that are used in these transactions are reliable and authentic. Through the use of electronic documents, consumers and businessmen can now conduct business transactions without going through traditional paper documents.
The Philippine Amended BOT Law R.A 7718 and its Revised Implementing Rules & Regulations (IRR) – The Act amends the Republic Act 7718. It provides that the private sector may carry out the financing, construction, maintenance, and operation of infrastructure projects.
ODA and Foreign Borrowings Law (RA 4860, RA 8182 and RA 8555) – The ODA Act of 1996 provides that an aid program should not be included in the foreign debt limit. It aims to facilitate the utilization of resources allocated for development projects.
Right-of-Way for Infrastructure Projects (RA 8974 and RA 8975) – The Right-of-Way Act of 1992 provides that the court should issue a possession order to the implementing agency following the payment of the property’s owner. Unfortunately, despite the law, cases of property acquisition remain stuck in the courts.
Auditing Code of the Philippines (PD 1445) – The State’s policy on the utilization and management of its resources is to ensure that they are used properly and that they are not wasted. It aims to ensure that the government is operating efficiently and effectively, and that the money is used properly. The responsibility for ensuring that this policy is followed rests with the head of the agency that handles the resources.
List of Programs and Services
The COA, through its various programs and services, aims to ensure that the government is operating efficiently and effectively, and that the money is used properly. It seeks to ensure that government officials are always accountable for their actions. Here is a list of some of the major programs and services offered by the COA:
Audit Agencies – The COA is responsible for ensuring that all government agencies are operated efficiently and effectively. It also aims to ensure that the money is used properly. To do this, it conducts audits of various government agencies, including state-owned or -controlled corporations.
Annual Audit Reports – The COA publishes its annual audit report on the agency’s website. It includes information about the performance of departments and agencies, as well as their financial status. This is a useful tool for citizens who want to keep track of how their tax dollars are being spent.
Annual Financial Reports – The COA also publishes an annual financial report, which provides a more detailed view of the agency’s operations. It includes data on revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities.
Audit Performance Summary Reports – The COA publishes a summary report of its audit findings for each agency or department. It identifies problems with the agency’s financial management system and makes recommendations for improvement. This is an important resource for citizens who want to know how their tax dollars are being spent, but it doesn’t provide much detail on the specific issue of corruption.
Citizen Participatory Audit Reports – The COA publishes a report on its citizen participatory audit findings, which are based on the results of audits and reviews conducted by volunteers who were recruited to participate in the process. The reports focus on specific areas of concern, such as the management of public funds and procurement procedures. However, they don’t give much detail about how corruption has affected the agency being audited.
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Reports – The government publishes a report on its disaster risk reduction and management efforts, which are designed to reduce the impact of natural disasters. The reports focus on specific areas of concern, such as disaster preparedness and response, but they don’t give much detail about how corruption has affected these issues.
Official Development Assistance (ODA) Project – The government publishes a report on its official development assistance program, which is designed to provide foreign aid to developing countries. The reports focus on specific areas of concern, such as the management of public funds and procurement procedures. However, they don’t give much detail about how corruption has affected the agency being audited.
Performance Audit Reports – The government publishes a report on its public-sector performance, which is designed to provide insight into how effectively the government is managing its resources. The reports focus on specific areas of concern, such as procurement procedures and spending oversight.
Reports on Salaries and Allowances – The government publishes a report on salaries and allowances, which is designed to provide insight into how much money public servants are paid. The reports focus on specific areas of concern, such as the number of people employed by the government and how much money is spent on salaries.
Other Reports – The government publishes other reports that focus on specific issues and provide insight into how effectively it manages its resources.
- Regular Audits – An audit team composed of the team leader and members of the organization is assigned to look into a specific government agency or entity. This group is supervised by a Supervising Auditor, who also heads another group that has more than one audit team.
- Special Audits – The Special Services Sector’s auditor is responsible for carrying out performance audits to review the management efficiency of the agency and its programs and activities. These audits are carried out to determine if the agency has achieved its goals and objectives and if there is a need for further improvement.
- Fraud Audits – The COA’s Fraud Audit Office of the Special Services Sector is responsible for conducting audits of government agencies to identify potential fraud and abuse. It also responds to the increasing public demand for financial transparency.
Legal and Adjudication Services
The COA provides legal services to the government, including the drafting of contracts and other documents. It also adjudicates cases involving government agencies and private parties. This is done through its Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, which acts as a legal counsel for government corporations. The COA also provides legal assistance to individuals seeking redress from government agencies or officials in cases where they have been denied their rights or suffered injustice.
The Commission is composed of various technical personnel such as engineers, IT specialists, and mechanical engineers. They help auditors in carrying out their duties, such as determining the reasonable prices of various goods and consulting services. They also perform fraud audits.
Through its Professional Development Sector, the Commission provides various training programs to government employees. It also sells copies of its books and manuals to other government agencies.
The Commission provides copies of all audit reports and other documents to the public, as well as to any government agency or individual, upon request. These documents are also available in the various offices of the Commission.
With these programs and key services, the COA is able to contribute significantly to the government’s efforts toward achieving good governance.
COA Citizens’ Desk Reporting System
The CDRS is a tool used by the COA to monitor and record the various reports and queries related to the misuse, fraud, and waste of public funds. It also provides a support ticket system for those who need help.
Video: What is the Mandate of the Commission on Audit? | TV Patrol
The Commission on Audit continues to receive support and praise for its performance in the role. This is despite President Duterte’s crackdown on audit reports related to using funds by various government agencies. What exactly are its services and the agency’s role?
In this video, we’ll learn more about what the Commission on Audit does (processes), who is in charge of it (people), and what some of its key services are (performance).
Frequently Asked Questions
You might be wondering what the Commission on Audit is and why it matters. So here are some of our most frequently asked questions about the agency and its role in government:
1. What measures can the Commission adopt to correct deficiencies?
The Commission may adopt temporary or special measures to address the inadequacies in the internal control system of its audit agencies. These measures are usually necessary to correct the issues and prevent them from happening in the future.
2. How old do you have to be to be a member of the Commission on Audit?
The members of the Commission on Audit are composed of several commissioners and a chairperson. They are required to be at least 35 years old and must be either a lawyer or a certified public accountant. The President of the Philippines has the power to appoint them.
3. How long does a commissioner serve?
The first three commissioners would serve for seven years each, while the chairman would serve for five years. A fourth commissioner would serve for three years. The term “tenure” refers to the period in which a person held office.
4. Who audits the Commission on Audit?
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is responsible for conducting audits of all financial reports and all government assets. It was established following the Second World War. It was then renamed the Commission on Audit after the 1973 constitution was adopted.
5. What types of audits do COA auditors perform?
Here are some of the types of audits that COA performs:
Agency-Based Performance Audit. These audits are conducted to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of government agencies, their programs and projects.
Government-Wide Performance Audit. These audits are conducted to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs, projects and activities.
Levy Audit. These audits are conducted to evaluate the collection of taxes and other government revenues. Financial Audit. These audits are conducted to review financial transactions and records of government agencies, their programs and projects.
Rate Audit. These audits are conducted to evaluate the revenues, expenses and costs of government programs.
Sectoral Performance Audit. These audits are conducted to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of government agencies, their programs and projects.
Special Audit. These audits are conducted to review and evaluate the overall financial management of a government agency.
Special Studies. These studies are conducted to review and evaluate the overall financial management of a government agency.
Subsidy Audit. These audits are conducted to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs that provide subsidies to citizens.
6. What is a government auditing system?
The government auditing process is carried out to ensure that the financial transactions and operations of government agencies are conducted in an ethical and accurate manner. It involves examining and verifying the authenticity of the reports and statements made by various government agencies.
7. What is a non-government audit?
An organization that is established to render service to the nation or the people is called an NGO. It has to make sure that its books are regularly audited. In addition to this, the group also has to file an income tax return.
The government carries out an audit of these organizations through the COA. It is done to ensure that no money is taken from the funds donated by the people. The audit process helps us understand how much money has been spent on various activities and what has been achieved with that amount of money.
8. Who are government auditors?
The primary function of government auditors is to maintain records of all activities undertaken by government agencies and private businesses and examine the filings of individuals and entities subject to taxes and regulations. They ensure that the revenues are spent according to the laws and regulations.
The Commission on Audit (COA) primarily examines the financial records of government agencies and offices, including those of local governments. It also investigates specific cases referred to it by concerned parties. Despite this, the COA is not a law enforcement agency and cannot impose penalties or prosecute individuals or organizations for violations of laws.
As citizens, understanding the importance and services of the commission enables us to better grasp how to use and protect our rights. The Commission on Audit plays a vital role in ensuring transparency in government, as well as holding public officials accountable for their actions, which in more ways than one, can affect OFWs and their families back home.
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DISCLAIMER: This post is only intended to provide general information. If you have other questions or concerns regarding specific issues involving the COA, you may contact the agency through the information in the following section.
Commission on Audit
Address: Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City Philippines 0880
Telephone Number: 8931-9207
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/people/Commission-on-Audit/100069353193433/
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