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PIA Press Release

COA, mayors agree pre-audit a gov't flaw

Tagbilaran City (16 October) -- Both League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Bohol Chapter and the local Commission on Audit (COA) have to admit the pre-audit requirement is becoming more of a hassle than help, making them victims of another systemic government flaw.

Bohol LMP President Roberto Salinas called the requirement for all government transactions to get through pre-audit a huge blow against the government efforts to deliver quick and efficient service.

Now implemented as a policy before any government procurement transaction is consummated, the new pre-audit requirement has altered the usual government procurement processing with circuitous paper trails, town liaison officers with COA say.

Bohol COA supervising auditor Marcelita Sarmiento, who defended the government through the benefits of the pre-audit law has to concede however that the pre-audit has added so much to their overloaded functions considering the local office is undermanned.

She told the mayors that COA Bohol that only 24 auditors are overseeing the cash-books of 47 towns, a city and several government agencies including Capitol.

"An auditor has to take about 7 towns, national agencies, special projects…as much as we would like to, it would take us time to do pre-audit," she explained.

She also blamed some town auditors who send in incomplete documents further compounding the procedural delay.

It is true that pre-audit takes time, but we are governed by laws, she reiterated over the apparently helplessness the local chief executives showed over the policy.

In fact, Salinas called the policy one that molds the impression that mayors are shrugging shoulders on anti-red tape law with the illogical delays in the delivery of services.

"We can just imagine the waste of time, manpower and resources while we at our levels desperately need to keep up with fast, effective and responsive government," he said.

On the pre-audit requirement, Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco blurted out that [pre-audit] is all right, but implemented by an agency, which does not have the capability, it is something else.

"Why insist [on it] when they could not do it?" he asked.

Sarmiento reasoned out that COA implements, despite a move to raise the issue to COA top echelons.

She hinted then that without the directive stopping them from doing their jobs, they have to follow.

Meeting midway, the mayors asked the COA to give to them checklists for the pre-audit requirements while a promising that a parallel move would be initiated to lobby for the eventual reassessment on the policy. (PIA) [top]

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