The P14.46-billion proposed budget of the Commission on Audit (CoA) for 2022 breezed through the Senate finance committee on Tuesday.
Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the committee, noted that it might be the shortest budget deliberation this year after he terminated the hearing in less than ten minutes.
Angara had no questions posed for the state auditors and no other panel members were also present.
“I have no questions and you can count on my support. We’ll just, of course as before, we’ll endeavor to enable you fiscally, very deserving, you play an important role in our scheme of governance,” the senator said.
The agency has a proposed budget of P14.46B for 2022 — 2.74 percent higher than its P14.06B budget in 2021.
COA chairperson Mike Aguinaldo, in presenting their budget, sought additional budgetary support for their Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses and Capital Outlay for the construction of more provincial satellite auditing offices (PSAOs).
Out of 81 provinces in the country, Aguinaldo said COA is targeting to cover at least 68 areas by next year. He said that 54 PSAOs have been completed as of 30 June while 14 are still under construction.
“The bulk of these or about 47 were constructed in the past 6 years and it could have been more if not for the pandemic and the quarantine it caused. We have an additional 14 that are undergoing construction, some of which may be finished soon, some are just starting their groundbreaking,” said Aguinaldo.
“In total, we have about 68 buildings that we hope will be completed by next year,” he added.
Angara, for his part, assured Aguinaldo of his support for their budget. He then commended the official for his legacy project and lauded him for having a controversy-free term as chairman of the commission.
Aguinaldo is set to retire from his post as CoA chief after serving for seven years.
“I wish there were more members in your last year but I’m not expecting any opposition at all. In fact, I’m expecting a lot of support for your budget,” said Angara.
“I will just terminate, and this is probably the shortest budget hearing of this 2022 budget. We’ll endorse your budget without prejudice to any possible increases to the plenary,” he added.