COA is protector of public funds

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Emeterio Sd. Perez

Emeterio Sd. Perez

IN fairness to the Commission on Audit, it is doing well in its mandate to protect government money. As a matter of fact, its findings – some of them negative – on the use of relief funds intended for the victims of typhoon Yolanda three years ago remain posted on its website. Anyone who wants to find out what happened to the government budget for Yolanda victims and to the donations that came from foreign governments needs only to access www.coa.gov.ph.

It is unfortunate that certain top government officials have been issuing press releases on the alleged loss of funds intended for Yolanda victims in the heavily affected provinces, towns and barangays in the Visayas and Mindanao. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) were reported to have also conducted an internal audit of its own disaster funds.

Of course, DSWD did not need to coordinate with COA. It has its audit team and its funds to protect from anomalous disbursement.

Press releases


In Congress, Anakpawis party list representative Ariel Casilan, who has very limited number of constituents, has been quoted in a news report to have asked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte “to order an investigation into what happened to the billions of pesos earmarked for rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas ravaged by the super typhoon, and to hold those responsible for the inadequate government response.”

Really? What a motherhood statement that anybody can easily relay to the media through a press release!
In the case of DWSD, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo should have first verified if her office’s findings tallied with those of COA. In this way, DWSD and COA could have debated over any disagreement between the results of their respective audits.

For the information of the public and the readers of The Manila Times, here are some of the entries on COA’s website:

Assessment of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management at the Local Level; Disaster Management Practices in the Philippines; Report on the Audit of Typhoon Yolanda Relief Operations; and Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) Disaster Relief Activities.

Salary postings

As the auditor of public funds, COA has a wide scope of responsibility in auditing government expenses. It may have its own shortcomings in the form of omissions but it is, admittedly, the only agency that ordinary Filipinos can rely on for information on the use of public funds.

Government workers should find COA’s compensation reports their only recourse in determining the gaps between their salaries and those of their bosses. As a matter of fact, it may be easy to determine the amounts that separate them from their immediate superiors by going over the latter’s additional pays and perks. Being political appointees, however, the heads of agencies may not necessarily the highest-paid among government officials.

Perhaps, among COA’s postings, the ordinary civil servants would be more interested in the “report on salaries, and allowances received by principal officers and members of governing board of government-owned or—controlled corporations and their subsidiaries and by secretaries, undersecretaries and other officials of equivalent ranks…”

Meet ROSA

In reading COA’s reports, government workers are bound to meet ROSA, which is the acronym for “Report on Salaries and Allowances.”

For instance, a very interesting entry in COA’s postings is the compensation of a water district manager, who received P15,012,057 in 2010 and P5,996,197 in 2011, a compensation that landed him at No. 4 and No. 17, respectively, among government’s highest-paid officials.

The compensation data presented by COA showed the discrepancies among the government officials. Romeo P. Calara, general manager of Angeles City water district, was paid a total of P15,012,057 in 2010 while Amando M. Tetangco Jr. governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, who was at No. 9, received only P10,676,402 in 2010.

Calara had only a basic salary of P708,000 in 2010, which means he was rewarded with additional incentives of P14,304,057 of which P13,727,857 was his emergency allowance and confidential/intelligence fund.

On the other hand, Tetangco, who received a much higher basic salary of P5.4 million in 2010 did not have an intelligence fund, and got only P991,052 in discretionary fund.

esdperez@gmail.com

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