Barangays and barangay associations also to be audited by COA
MANILA, Philippines—Even those little-known barangay associations will not be spared the fine-tooth combs of State auditors.
Commission on Audit Chair Grace Pulido-Tan served notice to the “Liga ng mga Barangay’’ operating on government funds on Wednesday that they would also be subject to financial audit.
“I would like to announce that our audit will also include not only barangays, but the Liga ng M-mga Barangay. Where public money is, the COA goes,’’ Tan said at the Communication and News Exchange Forum at the Philippine Information Agency.
COA has observed not only illegal disbursement of funds but non-remittance of collections in some barangays, which if taken together, amount to huge losses to the government, said the COA head, chair who has been on the job for eight months now.
Its annual audit reports of these barangays, however, are not normally uploaded on the COA website but these are available at its regional offices, she said.
Tan conceded that what she found irritating were the auditors’ “repeated findings’’ on unliquidated cash advances by government officials and personnel that sometimes run to millions of pesos.
She said that an employee could advance a maximum P15,000 and is supposed to liquidate this within a certain number of days, otherwise an employee can no longer avail himself of cash advance. But that is not the case out there.
“Under these regulations, the unliquidated cash advances should not run up to millions of pesos. We’re studying how we can help the agencies.… One of the things I’m looking at seriously is to really strictly enforce the regulations and make the disbursing officer of any agency personally accountable,’’ she said.
“If unliquidated, that’s a big loss to the government. If one person owes a few hundred thousand pesos, how can you pay for that? If it’s unliquidated for some time, it’s very hard to recover it. I’m hot on those cash advances.’’
Since it did away with pre-audit in government agencies, the COA would launch together with the Department of Budget and Management the Philippine government internal audit manual that would standardize all auditing rules and regulations.
“Since 1992, there’s a law mandating all agencies to have internal audit units. But the compliance has not been that high. So what we’re doing now is to have this internal audit manual,’’ she said. “So in every agency, there will be common terms of doings things, handling public money and making disbursements.’’
“We’re not happy about our findings on the agencies that we audit. For me, my performance measure will be that their books will be clean and our opinions will be clean. Right now, our reports are qualified and adverse,’’ she added.
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