Dir. Dinah E. Pichay
Around 190 participants representing 90 provinces/cities/municipalities joined the first ever LGU Forum with the theme, ‘Internal Auditing in the LGUs: A Pillar of Good Governance,’ held virtually last August 18, 2022.
AGIA President Marissa N. Fabricante, in her welcome remarks, stressed the importance of establishing an internal audit office in the local government units, as the implementation of the Mandanas ruling is expected to increase LGU share from the national revenues. As funds for programs, projects and activities implemented by national government agencies will be devolved to the LGUs, greater responsibilities and accountability, including the exercise of fiscal prudence, will be assumed by the LGUs.
She emphasized that an IAU/IAO will function to ensure good governance by providing checks and balances for government interventions, to check internal controls and to strengthen the institution.
Keynote speaker, Deputy Executive Secretary for Internal Audit, Ricojudge Janvier Echiverri, conveyed his plans and priorities towards a strong internal audit in the public sector, especially in the LGU, a sector close to his heart being a former DILG Undersecretary. Foremost among these is the passage of an Internal Audit Law that will provide clear-cut guidelines for uniform implementation of the internal auditing practice in the public sector.
He likewise laid out his proposal for LGU-IAOs staffing to be selected from a pool of internal auditors, rather than appointed by the local chief executive to maintain independence and objectivity. DESIA Echiverri further stated that he has been working in close coordination with the DBM and other stakeholders, including the AGIA, to ensure that his plans will come to fruition.
Technical sessions completed the half-day forum with four other speakers that included Dir. John Aries S. Macaspac, Local Government and Regional Coordination Bureau of the Department of Budget and Management who shared the legal bases for the establishment of internal audit office in the LGUs, and some relevant provisions of the Internal Audit Manual for Local Government Units (IAMLGU).
Sharing their IAS journeys were Ms. Ernanita D. Cabebe, Head, IAO, Province of Davao del Norte, Ms, Joan E. Jamisal, Department Head, IAS, City of Legazpi, and Ms. Alicia Cruz Barazon, OIC-IAS, Pasig City. Numerous significant questions/clarifications raised by the participants to the four speakers were diligently answered, increasing more the interests of the participants in the establishment or strengthening of IAS in their respective organizations.
In closing, Forum Chairperson Atty. Anthony C. Nuyda, AGIA VP for Internal Affairs and Regional Director of DILG, Region V, thanked and encouraged the participants to take on the challenge of establishing IAS/IAO in their own organizations, and capitalize on its value-adding services towards good governance.
The forum was hosted by AGIA Dir. Daniel L. Ambasan, IAS Head, City Government of San Fernando, La Union and Dir. Dinah E. Pichay, Department Manager III, Internal Audit Service, National Tobacco Administration.