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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

House bill pushes pre-audit of government projects, contracts

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A lawmaker on Thursday proposed the institutionalization of a pre-audit system that would scrutinize government projects and contracts prior to implementation to ensure that funds are properly utilized and interventions are delivered to the public.

The pre-audit system,  according to San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florida P. Robes, would also minimize scrutiny from state auditors, thus “dramatically” preventing questions on government’s use of funds.

Robes noted that this system “protect the credibility of institutions as well as elected and appointed officials while in service.”

However, the lawmaker pointed out that the pre-audit system would be a “more lengthy process” since government contracts and projects will be audited even before funds are released for implementation.

“This system is for the protection of our officials, our people and our institutions because it ensures that the government agency has the capacity to implement the program within the allotted period,” she said in a news statement.

“This will ensure that government funds are used according to what they were allocated for within the allotted period,” she added.

Robes said she has already filed House Bill 7124 that would institutionalize a pre-audit system in the government.

Under the proposed bill, all expenditures and uses of public funds pertaining to infrastructure projects, procurement of goods and consulting services, by government agencies, including  government-owned and -controlled corporations, government financial institutions and local governments shall undergo mandatory pre-audit before any funds are released for such projects or contracts.

The expenditures also cover the lease of goods and real property, of any branch, office agency or instrumentality of the government, including state universities and colleges, according to the bill.

“To ensure that there will be no delay in the disbursements, the Commission on Audit shall issue a Certificate of Pre-Audit within a period of 15 days from receipt of all pertinent documents,” Robes said.

“If the COA does not issue a certificate, it is mandated to decline the issuance of the same, on valid and legal grounds within a period of 15 days from receipt of all pertinent documents relative to the intended disbursement of public funds,” Robes added.

To implement the pre-audit system, the bill creates a Pre-Audit Office at the COA for the manpower requirement to guarantee immediate compliance of the system’s requirements, Robes said.

The bill stipulated that COA is “mandated to submit an annual report to the President and to Congress on the status of the implementation of the pre-audit system not later than June 30 of every year following its approval.”

“With the controversy hounding the Department of Health and other government agencies and instrumentalities, this affects the credibility of our officials, our institutions and the delivery of goods and services. It is the Filipino people who suffer,” Robes said.

“This bill seeks to address this by making sure that even before public funds are released, they are audited to ensure that they go to where they should go at the allotted time. Walang delay at walang nasasayang na pera ng bayan,” Robes added.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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