New law sought to sanction gov't agencies that fail to comply with COA recommendations

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 20 2021 07:13 PM

MANILA - Congress should legislate a new policy to impose stiffer penalties against government agencies that fail to comply with audit recommendations, a lawmaker said Friday as a House panel continued to investigate the Department of Health's (DOH) spending on pandemic funds.

It is "very alarming" how executive agencies are allowed to simply declare that they failed to implement several recommendations from the Commission on Audit (COA), APEC Party-list Rep. Sergio Dagooc said.

"They continue to receive salary from our taxes pero yung trabaho nila hindi nagampanan ng tama (but they are not doing their job right)," he said.

"This is very alarming if this is normal for all government agencies. We need to legislate something about this," he said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told lawmakers that the DOH had a 90 percent audit compliance years in the past 5 years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DOH acted on 136 of the 151 recommendations from the Commission on Audit (COA) between 2013 and 2019, Duque III said in a House inquiry.

"Hindi naman siguro masama yung 90 percent," he said.

(I think 90 percent is not bad.)

Duque did not say why 15 other COA recommendations were not implemented.

"Siguro may mga recommendations na nahirapan sila i-implement. For example reconciliation of property and accounting records," COA Supervising Auditor Rhodora Ugay said when asked why agencies tend to fail in implementing some recommendations from state auditors.

(Maybe there were recommendations that they found it hard to implement.)

Dagooc criticized Duque for touting the agency's 90 percent audit compliance rate, saying taxpayers deserve more than that.

"Parang pinagmamayabang niya pa na 90. Gusto namin 100 percent compliance kasi pera namin yun," Dagooc said.

(He was even boasting abour the 90 percent. We want 100 percent compliance because that is our money.)

"Lalo nadedehado ang taumbayan niyan kasi puwede naman pala idahilan yung hindi nila na-reconcile," he said.

(The public is further shortchanged if agencies are simply allowed to say that they cannot reconcile their records.)

The COA earlier gave the DOH 60 days to address deficiencies on how it spent billions of COVID-19 funds in 2020.

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