Pandemic crisis has not necessarily hindered the continuity of regular audit activities. In a virtual conference last 29 June 2020, the City Auditors together with Supervising Auditor Gloria A. Cañete and COA XI Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Ursal discussed audit plans for CY 2020 with eighteen (18) top management officials of the City Government of Davao (CGD) led by Assistant City Administrator for Administration (ACAA), Atty. Tristan Dwight P. Domingo.
Audit Team Leader Jocelyn A. Cardenas fully explained the purpose of such initial conference, in accordance with the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions or ISSAI. SA Cañete highlighted in her opening remarks that for CY 2020 audit, the focus will be more on COVID19-related expenditures/disbursements. Director Ursal added that the audit of COVID-19 funds will be of great help to transparency since significant amounts are involved, and COA shall basically rely, as audit criteria, on the pertinent guidelines issued by the National Government. He also stressed that, without violating the rules of procedure, Audit Observation Memorandums (AOMs) can be released via email. But, the Notice of Suspension (NS), Notice of Disallowance (ND), and Notice of Charge (NC) in this time of Pandemic, should always be issued on paper (hard copy) so as not to violate due process requirements with regard to the actual receipt by the identified persons responsible/liable.
At CGD management side, ACAA Atty. Tristan Dwight Domingo acknowledged the leadership of RD Roy L. Ursal for sharing the audit focus and plans for the year. He also emphasized the City’s continued commitment to public transparency and accountability, and as proof, they are ready to submit advance summaries of paid and ongoing COVID-19 related transactions.
He also expressed the hardships they encountered the past two months where along with other Local Government Units (LGUs), they were also grasping on what to do in the absence of clear guidelines, but with the great leadership of City Mayor Sara Duterte, they have been guided well. Most of their actions were pre--emptive for a worst-case scenario in which the City has spent and/or programmed almost P1.4 Billion to date.
Director Ursal cited the negotiated procurement in emergency cases issued by the Government Procurement and Policy Board or GPPB and the emergency procurement under the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” that ease the procurement process to support LGUs in its efficient response to the pandemic.
COA XI Regional Director Roy L. Ursal and Atty. Tristan Dwight P. Domingo, Assistant City Administrator for Administration
Director Ursal also partly mentioned COA websites which would help promote transparency in the Government. Citizens can access among others the COVID-19 audit reports from the COA Official Website. He also introduced the COA RO XI official website which recently went online to provide up-to-date and official information of COA in the Davao Region.
To end the video conferencing, Director Ursal accentuated the Commission’s commitment and duty, being an enabling partner, to enhance the management’s fiscal responsibility.
Participants of the Audit Entrance Conference