PSA-ARMM CPAs attend AGAP 2018 Annual Convention-Seminar

December 5, 2018News Article Ref No.: NL-ARMM-18-039
Employees of PSA offices attend the AGAP Annual Convention-Seminar 2018.

Ms. Rufaidah T. Ibrahim, Accountant III; Mr. Anwar S. Abdullah, Budget Officer; and Ms. Normeena H. Arab, Bookkeeper of PSA-ARMM, were among the 27,000 Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in the country who attended the 2018 Annual Convention-Seminar of the Association of Government Accountants of the Philippines (AGAP), with the theme “Maginhawa, Matatag at Panatag na Buhay: Ambisyon Nating Tunay”, last October 17 to 20, 2018 at Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo City.

In this event, AGAP awarded the Outstanding Accounting Offices of the prior fiscal year, based on COA’s recommendations and reports, and provided updates on different sectors of government including rules and regulations of accounting and budgeting. Additionally, one of its main objectives are to promote and maintain high professional and ethical standards among Government Accountants, as well as the Budget Officers, Cashiers, Supply Officers and other personnel belonging to the Finance Division of the National Government Agencies.

Mr. Dominador Co, Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Iloilo City, delivered the Welcome Remarks, in behalf of Mayor Jose S. Esponosa III, during the 2018 Annual Convention-Seminar of AGAP. He took the opportunity to highlight the achievements and initiatives of the City Government of Iloilo City, such as being a Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awardee for three consecutive years.

Ms. Tina Rose Marie L. Canda, AGAP National President and currently the Undersecretary of the Department of Budget Management (DBM), emphasized in her message that the importance of unity in an organization.

“Organization is only as strong as the unity which its members have. Without unity, chaos, cut throat competition and confusion will prevail,” Usec. Canda said.

She added that that being in the government financial sector involves risks and sometimes lead to legal cases against accountants. In relation to thisUsec. Canda announced the launching of the AGAP Assistance for Accountants in Distress (A-AID). This project extends financial assistance to accountants and/or those in the financial service who face lawsuits in relation to their work and functions which is patterned after the legal defense fund of the National Government.

Ms. Inday Sara Z. Duterte, Mayor of Davao City, who was not able to attend due to equally important concern, has delivered her Keynote Address thru the Undersecretary of Bureau of Corrections, Mr. Ronald “Bato” M. Dela Rosa, who is also one of the guest speakers of the convention.

“The public financial professionals, both from the Local Government Units (LGUs) and the National Government Agencies (NGAs), were lauded for their efforts in keeping up with the technology, not only to ensure compliance but as an effective tool to further improve delivery of service to the public. Aside from excellence, integrity is equally expected from the profession not only to keep the agencies afloat but more importantly, to strengthen accountability in public service,” Mayor Duterte said in her message.

In his Inspirational Message, Usec. Dela Rosa reminded the Filipinos to unite against illegal drugs, he vowed to push death penalty consistent with his commitment to continue the fight against criminality.

Ms. Rizalina Q. Mutia, Assistant Commissioner of the Commission on Audit (COA), discussed the updates on COA Rules and Regulations. She presented and reviewed the following COA Circulations which were recently issued in the last two years:

  • COA Circular No. 2018-002 Guidelines prescribing the submission of the Property Inventory Form as basis for the assessment of general insurance coverage over all insurable assets, properties and interests of the government with the General Insurance Fund of the GSIS.
  • COA Circular No. 2017-004 Guidelines on the preparation of FS and other financial reports and implementation of the PFRS by Government Corporations Classified as GBEs and PPSAS by Non-GBEs;
  • COA Circular No. 2017-003 on the Amendment of Sec. 197 under Title VI- Miscellaneous provisions and Administrative Instructions of COA Cir. No. 92-3386 dated October 20, 1992 re: Rules and Regulations on Supply and Property Management in the Local Governments;
  • COA Circular No. 2017-002 on the Clarification of the COA Circular No. 2016-002 dated May 31, 2016. Previously, cash advances for liquidation are audited by the COA before they are allowed to be recorded in the books of account;
  • COA Circular No. 2017-001 on the reimbursement of expenses not requiring official receipts. Reimbursement of expenses amounting to P300.00 or less need not be supported by official receipts, except for the following: (i) payment of fares in public utility vehicles issuing receipt and (ii) purchases in business establishments issuing receipts;
  • COA Circular No. 2016-005 on the Guidelines on the Write-off of Dormant Receivables Accounts, Unliquidated Cash Advances and Fund Transfers of NGAs, LGUs and GOCCs;
  • COA Circular No. 2016-004 on the Guidelines on the Conversion of the Chart of Accounts from the Philippine Chart of Accounts under COA Circular No. 2004-008 dated September 20, 2004, as amended;
  • COA Circular No. 2016-003 Amendment to COA Circular No. 2013-004 dated January 30, 2013 Re: Information and Publicity on Programs/Projects/Activities of the Government Agencies. For non-infrastructure PPAs – a tarpaulin signboard similar to item 2.2.3 of COA Circular No. 2013-004 may be displayed at the project site, but not to exceed 3 ft. by 4 ft;
  • COA Circular No. 2016-002 re: Updates on Prescribing the Revised Guidelines and Documentary Requirements for Fund Transfers. The post-audit of transactions is not a prerequisite to the succeeding release of funds. The Certification by the Accountant that funds previously transferred to the Implementing Agency has been liquidated and accounted for in the books – will suffice as part of the documentary requirements for funds transfers;
  • COA Circular No. 2016-001 re: Amendment to COA Circular No. 2013-003 dated January 30, 2013, re: Reiteration of Audit Disallowance of Payments without Legal Basis of Allowances, Incentives, and Other Benefits of Government Officials and Employees in the NGAs, LGUs, and GOCCs and their Subsidiaries; and
  • COA Memorandum No. 2018-001 Audit of compliance by all government agencies with RA No. 9679 on the proper deduction of Pag-IBIG Fund Contribution and Short Term Loan Amortization from the salaries of employees, and timely remittance of said deductions to the HDMF. Refusal or failure without lawful cause or with fraudulent intent to comply with the provisions of RA No. 9679, as well as the IRR, particularly with respect to registration of employees, collection and remittance of employee-savings as well as the employer counterparts, or the correct amount due, within the time set shall constitute an offense.

After her presentation, Ms. Mutia announced the awardees for the 2017 Outstanding Accounting Offices as follows:

LGU Awardees:

  1. Caloocan City, National Capital Region (NCR)
  2. Makati City, National Capital Region (NCR)
  3. Navotas City, National Capital Region (NCR)
  4. Quezon City, National Capital Region (NCR)
  5. Legaspi City, Region V
  6. Danao City, Cebu, Region VII
  7. Provincial Government of Mt. Province, Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR)
  8. Provincial Government of Quirino, Region II
  9. Provincial Government of Albay, Region V
  10. Alfonso Lista, Ifugao, Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR)
  11. Bauko, Mt. Province, Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR)
  12. Bontoc, Mt. Province, Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR)
  13. San Jose, Batangas, Region IV-A
  14. Rapu-Rapu, Albay, Region V
  15. Jose Panganibab, Camarines Norte, Region V
  16. Place, Masbate, Region V
  17. Pilar, Sorsogon, Region V
  18. Tobias Fornier, Antique, Region VI

GOCC Awardees:

  1. Tagum Water District, Davao del Norte, Region XI

State University/College Awardees:

  1. University of the Philippines – Visayas, Region VI

National Government Awardees:

  1. DENR – Mines and Geo-Science Bureau – CARAGA
  2. DepED – Division of Davao City, Region XI
  3. DBM – Government Procurement Policy Board
  4. DOF – Central Board of Assesment Appeals
  5. DOF – Insurance Commission
  6. NEDA – Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency
  7. NEDA – Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines
  8. Other Executive Offices (OEO) – Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)
  9. OEO – Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board

Hall of Famers:

  1. DOF – National Tax Research Center
  2. National Book Development Board

Special Award:

  1. Home Development Mutual Fund

On the second day of the event, Usec. Arturo Boncato, Jr. of the Department of Tourism (DOT) discussed related updates on his respective office. According to him, the new leadership under the helm of Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is centered in creating a culture of sustainable tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impact, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities. In tourism, it’s not the numbers that matter the most but ultimately how to strike the right balance between business concern and social responsibility to ensure equitable growth.

Understanding the TRAIN Law: It’s Implication and Impact was presented and discussed by the Assistant Secretary of Department of Finance, Mr. Antonio Joselito G. Lambino II. It was started with the reiteration of the vision for the country that extreme poverty will be eradicated in year 2040, with no Filipino family left behind. Once achieved, the Gross National Income (GNI) is estimated to grow from 3,500 USD to 11,000 USD. By 2022, the year when the current administration ends, the country is aspiring to be a high middle income country, with poverty rate reduced from 21.6% to 13-15% and GNI from 3500USD to 5000 USD. Next year, it is expected that Philippines will be declared as one of the high middle income countries joining China and Thailand, based on the World Bank category.

Lastly, Asec. Lambino discussed the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities Bill (TRABAHO), under House Bill 8083. Aside from lowering corporate income taxes, the Incentives Menu for investors shall be rationalized. The reform initiative shall necessarily include the implementation of a sunset provision for existing incentives which shall be made to continue until the end of the remaining period or 5%, whichever comes earlier.

Moreover, Asec. Canda discussed the Updates on the Annual Cash-Based Budgeting Approach. The shift to an annual cash-based appropriation is one of the key provisions of the game-changing Budget Modernization Bill (BMB). The House Bill No. 7302 was already passed on third reading last March 20, 2018, while the Senate version is on second reading and is expected to be passed before the end of the year. DBM National Budget Memorandum No. 129 and Corporate Budget Memorandum No. 40, both issued on January 3, 2018, formally introduced annual cash-based budgeting in the preparation of the 2019 National Budget. The FY 2017 veto message of the President and the FY 2018 GAA have gradually been shifting the government to a one-year validity of obligation-based appropriations. The shift to an annual cash-based budget in FY 2019 is a logical progression of this reform.

Usec. Emil K. Sadain of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), presented the main project of the current administration – the “Build, Build, Build”. He explained the Public Investment Program for 2017-2022, Updates on the Infrastructure Flagship Projects and the Build, Build, Build Program’s potential impact on the economy. For over 50 years, the Philippines’ infrastructure investment averaged only at 2.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while our neighboring economies invested double that ratio. Underinvestment in infrastructure produced a large gap that resulted in congestion and inefficiency. We are seeking to correct that gap by investing in 75 key strategic infrastructure projects over the medium term.

On the third day of the convention, Atty. Dennis S. Santiago, a Government Procurement Expert, discussed the Updates on the New Guidelines on Procurement Law. He explained the following public procurement principles: transparency, efficiency (streamlined procurement process), equity (fairness), competition, accountability, public monitoring, and economy (value for money). Furthermore, he emphasized that government procurement does not necessarily aim to acquire the cheapest product in the market. Agencies are allowed to conduct market sounding off to enable it to meticulously and judiciously prepare the technical specification for the project. The organization shall study the market to determine the best procurement option with due consideration to the rules to prevent unnecessary, irregular, excessive and extravagant expenses.

The topic on “Pag-IBIG: More than a Housing Loan Fund” was presented by the Pagtutulungan sa Kinabukasan: Ikaw, Bangko, Industriyia at Gobyerno (Pag-IBIG) Fund CEO Acmad Rizaldy P. Moti. He updated the participants on the developments in Pag-IBIG Fund in line with its mandate to administer Filipino workers’ savings fund and provide loan to members who wish to purchase or acquire a home of their own, at a lower interest rate and a more affordable amortization payment.

Aside from the Housing Loan Program and the Regular Pag-IBIG Savings (Mandatory) with registered annual dividend rate of 7.61% as of 2017, the Pag-IBIG Fund introduced the Modified Pag-IBIG 2 (MPS) Savings which is voluntary in nature. If offers higher dividends, reaching 8.11% in 2017, with a five-year mutually period and option to annual dividend payment which is opened to former Pag-IBIG members. He also reminded the participants that the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) members can avail discounts in some establishments that includes the McDonald’s by presenting their loyalty card. CEO Moti also used the opportunity to highlight the awards and recognitions received by the Pag-IBIG Fund as it continually works on instituting internal reforms towards Tapat na Serbisyo, Mula sa Puso.

Asec. Mary Jean T. Pacheco of Department of Trade and Industry presented her topic on Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Service Delivery relative to the newly enacted law, Republic Act (RA) No. 11032 (An Act Promoting Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery of Government Services by Amending Republic Act No. 9485, Otherwise Known as the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, and for Other Purposes) which took effect on June 17, 2018. To help further set the context of the discussion, ASec Pacheco informed the participants that the Philippines has improved in the 2018 Competitiveness Report of World Economic Forum from 68th to 56th. It was reported that the country performed low on public sector performance and on future preparedness.

Last session on the third day was focused on Exploring Business Opportunities by Mr. Carl E. Balita, an Entrepreneur and Business Talk Show Host. He encouraged the participants to ponder on these: (1) what I love, (2) what I am good at, (3) what is it that I do best, and (4) what the world needs. It is our passion, mission, profession and vocation which revolves around our purpose. It demonstrates a paradigm, wherein one either has satisfaction but useless, delighted but no wealth, comfortable but empty or excited but uncertain. He ended his discussion with a thought provoking line: “Align with PURPOSE; Grow for LEARNING; Aspire the DIFFERENCE; Prepare for FAILURE”.

On October 20, the last presentation was about the Harnessing and Understanding EQ in the Workplace by an HR Practitioner, Ms. Teresita R. Albert. According to her, EQ or emotional quotient is a term that is being used more within Human Resouces Departments and is making its way into executive boardrooms. EQ refers to someone’s ability to perceive, understand and manange their own feelings and emotions.

“Be inspired every morning, every day,” Ms. Albert reminded the participants before ending her presentation.

The initial plan for the next Convention-Seminar of AGAP 2019 wil be held in either Vigan City of Ilocos Sur or Davao City.