The Philippines–Australia Public Financial Management Program (PFMP) is a long term partnership between the Governments of Australia and the Philippines to improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency of public fund use in the Philippines.
The Australian Government has committed A$ 30 million to the program for a period of five years, from its commencement in October 2011 up to 2016.
The PFMP is assisting the Philippines Government to implement its Philippine PFM Reform Roadmap: Towards Improved Accountability and Transparency, 2011–2015. This comprehensive PFM reform agenda aims to clarify, simplify, improve and harmonize the financial management processes and information systems of the civil service in the Philippines.
PFMP supports GWatch in APCPI validation at DepED
22 April 2015
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, PASIG CITY —A meeting on the Participation of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the Agency Procurement Compliance and Performance Indicators (APCPI) and other Accountability Efforts of the Department of Education (DepED) was held recently as another step towards engaging civil society in generating transparency and accountability in DepED’s public expenditures.
Several stakeholders attended the meeting including the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the Philippines, NAMFREL, Ateneo School of Government, InciteGOV, Philippine Business for Education, and PICPA (Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants), among others. With technical and financial support from the Philippines- Australia Public Financial Management Program (PFMP), the meeting was organized by GWatch or Government Watch, a program of the Ateneo School of Government that enables citizens to constructively engage their governments in monitoring service delivery, procurement and program implementation.
“This exercise is very timely especially since we have had significant increases in DepED’s budget,” said Undersecretary for Finance and Administration Francisco M. Varela. “We want to ensure the openness of our bids, make them available for all interested bidders, that we procure right, and that we treat stakeholders fairly, all in the interest of government.”
“There is a need for control as the size of our procurement gets bigger. We want to try to meet the various needs of different schools…to go beyond the basics, make schools nicer and responsive to the needs of children,” added Varela. “We need to invest on more computers, and provide learning support in terms of science and math equipment, even toys.”
The PFMP is providing assistance to DepED over an 18-month period to strengthen the engagement of third-party and civil society stakeholders in monitoring major expenditure programs. The project involves further defining and implementing approaches to civil society engagement in monitoring big ticket items that the department procures. CSO involvement the APCPI self-assessment process falls under this package of assistance.
“We are helping DepEd determine how to strengthen the involvement of third-parties in the procurement and contract implementation for big expenditure programs such as classrooms, textbooks, computers, chairs and tables, water and sanitation facilities”, said PFMP Governance Adviser Basile Gilbert. “DepEd has diversified relations with CSOs and education stakeholders but needs to review which mechanisms are best suited to strengthen monitoring of its spending on big ticket items and maximize financial resources”.
What is APCPI?
The Agency Procurement Compliance Performance Indicators (APCPI) was adopted as the standard national procurement monitoring tool. It is a self-assessment tool to measure and evaluate agency procurement practices and aims to provide standard procurement performance monitoring and evaluation procedures for use by all procuring entities, and to identify strengths and weaknesses in the agency’s procurement system.
The APCPI process involves the following steps:
1. Data Collection
2. Data Consolidation
3. Scoring and Rating
4. Confirmation of Results
5. Analysis of Results
6. Preparation of Action Plan
Step 4 or confirmation of the results, is an important feature of the APCPI. It calls for the confirmation of the results of the self-assessment exercise through third party involvement. PFMP’s support allowed GWatch to 1) pilot test the confirmation of results by CSOs; and 2)develop guidelines for the agency to continue involving third parties in the confirmation process of APCPI in future years.
Rechie Tugawin of Government Watch said that “this activity is not meant to find fault. It’s constructive engagement, and an appreciation of CSOs towards governance. This is not an audit exercise.”
DepED is aiming for the agency-wide adoption and implementation of the APCPI and has issued DepED Order No.6, s.2014 last February 2014, formally adopting the APCPI. The Department is now conducting capacity building on the APCPI process and methodology and is pioneering the involvement of CSOs in the APCPI by tapping them as confirmators.
Director Aida N. Carpentero of DepED’s Procurement Service stressed the importance of the Department’s support for APCPI. “DepED’s procurement services have been recognized as an international best practice in procurement. In procuring our textbooks for example, we were able to save some two billion pesos for the government. This is a testament to our commitment to maintain a high standard of integrity and good governance to ensure that we procure the right quantity, at the right quality, at the right time.”
Atty. Jennifer Torill, Division Chief of the Government Procurement Policy Board- Technical Support Office (GPPB-TSO) said the APCPI has been implemented since 2011 and has been cascaded to 47 provinces in the Philippines. She added that the tool has been embraced by government and is working towards institutionalizing it.
DepEd is the first agency to to pilot test CSO validation of the APCPI data. This initiative will help DepED define and implement CSO involvement in APCPI validation for 2015 and for future years.
For more information on APCPI, visit http://gppb.gov.ph/apcpi/apcpi.html
COA, ANSA launch Phase 2 of Citizen Participatory Audit
29 January 2015
The Commission on Audit (COA) and Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP) recently launched Phase 2 of the Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA). The project is funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Outgoing COA Chairperson Maria Garcia Pulido Tan led the ceremonies with a keynote message addressing the gains of the CPA. “What does it take to make an honest-to-goodness audit? What can we as citizens do as a whole?,” Tan asked. “CPA is an integral part of the process. We stretch our mandate to the citizens, to the people. We would like to see if our CSO (civil society organizations) partners will go through any kind of growth.”
Tan reiterated that the CPA allows for more transparency and accountability in government. Following the success of Phase 1, the next stage of the CPA aims to cascade the program from NCR pilots to regions; diversify the partnerships and approaches to CPA; and institutionalize the program in COA. The CPA is already part of the special audit services of COA.
PFMP supports Participatory Audit of Farm-to-Market Roads in Palawan
21 January 2015
PUERTO PRINCESA - Some 80 participants from the Commission on Audit (COA) and various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from Palawan recently gathered in Puerto Princesa for a capacity building and audit planning workshop for a new Farm-to-Market-Roads (FMRs) citizen participatory audit (CPA).
The Palawan component is part of a nationwide performance audit that COA is implementing in cooperation with citizens and CSOs across the country. CSO partners are expected to help collect data on some of the remote FMR projects. The activity is coordinated by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP) in cooperation with COA. It is sponsored by the Philippines- Australia Public Financial Management Program (PFMP) as part of its support to the second phase of COA’s CPA Program. The audit aims to determine the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Farm-to-Market-Road Development Program (FMRDP)