In just under 10 minutes, Senate panel OKs COA’s P14.46B budget
MANILA, Philippines — Deemed as the “shortest budget hearing” in the Senate so far this year, the chamber’s finance committee approved the proposed P14.46-billion budget of the Commission on Audit (COA) in under 10 minutes.
During Tuesday’s hearing, COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo presented to the committee the commission’s proposed budget for 2022 amounting to over P14.46 billion, 2.74 percent higher than its funding in 2021.
In proposing COA’s budget, Aguinaldo also sought additional budget support for its Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE), and Capital Outlay for the construction of more provincial satellite auditing offices (PSAOs).
“We have written a letter to the committee asking for additional budgetary support, primarily on the MOOE, since that’s operating expenses and possibly if the budget is enough, maybe additional CO for additional provincial satellite auditing offices,” he said.
According to Aguinaldo, COA has so far completed the construction of 54 PSAOs across 54 provinces as of June 30 this year.
“The bulk of these, or about 47, were constructed in the past six years and it could have been more if not for the pandemic and the quarantine it caused,” he said.
An additional 14 PSAOs are undergoing construction, some of which are set to be completed “soon” while others “are just starting their groundbreaking,” said Aguinaldo.
“In total, we have about 67 or 68 buildings that we hope will be completed by next year. So konti na lang po, we’ll be able to get for each province, malapit na po,” he added.
With no more questions posed to COA about its proposed budget, finance panel chairman Senator Sonny Angara endorsed the commission’s budget for plenary deliberations.
“The members of the committee and the chair, I think more than ever, we’ll be just as supportive if not more since it’s your last year,” the senator said. Aguinaldo earlier mentioned this will be his seventh and last budget hearing as COA chairman.
“We’ve seen how the commission has worked under you, you’ve set a good example, no controversies. That’s a nice legacy that you’ve given home to the provincial COAs. Well done, Sir,” Angara went on.
The senator said COA can expect a “lot of support” for its 2022 budget.
“You can count on my support. Of course, as before, we’ll endeavor to enable you fiscally. Very deserving, you play an important role in our scheme of governance,” he added.
“I will just terminate, and this is probably the shortest budget hearing of this 2022 budget. We’ll endorse your budget, without prejudice to any possible increases, to the plenary,” he further said.
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