COA: Senate, House fail to implement gender programs

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2019 05:19 PM

MANILA -- Both chambers of Congress failed to allot 5 percent of their budget to gender and development programs as mandated by the General Appropriations Act, state auditors said.

The House of Representatives, which had a total budget of P11.304 billion, had zero allocation for Gender and Development (GAD) issues and also lacked a focal point system for these, the Commission on Audit said.

"Thus, no gender-related activities/programs... were implemented during the year," the COA's annual audit report said.

State auditors urged the House to comply not just with the 2018 General Appropriations Act, but also the Magna Carta for Women that mandates the creation and strengthening of the Gender and Development Focal Point System.

Meanwhile, the Senate set aside only 0.08 percent of its total budget to GAD, with actual expenditures only worth P2.188 million, COA said.

The funds were spent on information dissemination of existing bills filed through Senate publication, conduct of fora promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality, consultations with women’s groups, conduct of gender sensitivity training for employees, among others.

“We were informed that a memo for the creation of the permanent GAD staff was already prepared and submitted to the Office of the Senate Secretary and is now being studied,” the COA said.

Former speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senate President Tito Sotto both received copies of the audit reports last June 27.