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Leyte mayors meet COA on pre-audit

By Provincial Media Relations Center
January 6, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Local chief executives belonging to the League of Municipalities - Leyte Chapter (LMP-Leyte) had their briefing with the Commission on Audit regarding the restoration and reinforcement of the pre-audit of select government transactions that started towards the latter half of 2009.

The pre-audit, which scrutinizes transactions before funds are released and recorded in the government’s books, was discontinued in 1995. It was entrusted to internal auditors who are employees of the agency they examine.  COA auditors were restricted to post-audit work.

According to LMP-Leyte President Tanauan Mayor Roque Tiu, the mayors themselves through the provincial government, had requested the COA officers assigned to the province to enlighten them on the pre-audit process.

“Our mayors have many questions particularly in the payments of infrastructure projects and salary payments of employees. These are concerns which the LGUs have to deal with more often than other transactions, that is why we, together with the rest of the mayors of Leyte, needed to be briefed of,” Mayor Tiu said during the special LMP forum with COA officials.

In her presentation, COA officer Aracelli Go explained that subject to pre-audit are cash advances except those for payroll, intelligence funds, petty cash funds and those given for local travel expenses of officers and employees, first and last salary payments and terminal leave benefits of government workers, advanced payment and the first and last progress billings of contracts for infrastructure projects, payment for road right of way, procurement of government assets, goods and services, payments made through automatic debit service, release to nongovernmental organizations and people organizations, transfer of funds between and among government agencies, releases from trust funds of local government units and disposal of government property.

The pre-audit, it was learned, applies to certain transactions of select national government agencies, local government units and government-owned and controlled corporations. National high schools, barangays and state corporations audited under the team approach are exempt from pre-audit.

COA Supervising Auditor Rosabella Tan said it was restoring the practice of pre-audit to ensure that transaction is “not illegal, irregular, excessive, unconscionable or unnecessary”

Prior to the LMP forum held Wednesday, several local chief executives lamented that the pre-audit requirement can become more of a hassle than help and can be prone to another systemic government flaw and could be a huge blow against the government efforts to deliver quick and efficient service.

However, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, who was also present during the forum, said he is in favor of the restoration of the pre-audit to “protect the LGUs from unforeseen liabilities in the future.”

“With the pre-audit, mayors can be sure that their transaction followed the required process and are deemed proper as per COA rules,” Gov. Petilla said.