Senate panel OKs COA’s budget for 2022

Published October 12, 2021, 11:56 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate Finance subcommittee on Tuesday, Oct. 12 swiftly approved the Commission on Audit’s (COA) proposed P14.463-billion budget for 2022.

Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate finance panel, automatically endorsed COA”s proposed funding to the plenary after no senators interpellated or raised concerns with the state auditing agency.

Angara, at the same time, lauded the COA and its chairperson Michael Aguinaldo for “setting a good example” to other government agencies.

“We’ve seen how the Commission has worked under you…you’ve set a good example,” Angara told Aguinaldo during the Senate finance committee hearing.

Aguinaldo, however, asked for the Senate panel’s support for additional budget for the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), as well as the capital outlay for the construction of additional provincial satellite auditing offices (PSAOs).

According to Aguinaldo, the COA was able to complete 54 PSAOs in 54 provinces as of June 30, a bulk of which were constructed in the past six years.

The COA chief said the agency could have constructed more satellite offices but the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine restrictions hindered them from finishing more buildings.

Aguinaldo said 14 more PSAOs are undergoing construction. He said COA is keen on finishing about 68 buildings that they hope would be completed next year.

Angara, then expressed full support to the budget proposal of COA, saying it is “very deserving” of additional financial support as they “play an important role in the scheme of governance.”

“We’ll endorse your budget without prejudice to any possible increases to the plenary,” Angara pledged.