MANILA – At least four attached agencies of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) have received the highest audit rating from the Commission on Audit (COA) for their 2020 financial statements.
The COA, in its 2020 annual audit report, gave the News and Information Bureau (NIB), Bureau of Broadcast Services (BBS), Bureau of Communication Services (BCS), and the Presidential Broadcast Staff – Radio Television Malacañang (PBS-RTVM) an “unqualified opinion” on the fairness of presentation of their respective financial statements for Fiscal Year 2020.
The NIB, which supervises the Philippine News Agency, earned the highest audit rating for four consecutive years.
In its observations and recommendations, the COA lauded the NIB for its consistent withholding of taxes from the salaries of its employees and the value-added taxes on government purchase of goods and services, as well as for remitting the taxes withheld to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
The state audit agency also emphasized that the NIB, while it did not receive a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) fund for the year 2020, it disbursed the total amount of PHP850,000 from its regular budget for the hazard pay of its employees who worked during the implementation of the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The NIB’s latest standing is an improvement from 2016 when the COA cited how the PCOO’s attached agency failed to record office supplies issuances; had a discrepancy in balances; and understated income due to the non-recognition of subscription fees.
The COA also stressed that the BBS, even sans Covid-19 funds, released a total of PHP4,513,456 for its personnel under a permanent, contract of service, and personnel safety and wellness status.
It likewise commended the BCS for incurring Covid-19-related expenses worth PHP329,030.82 even if it did not receive any special funding to fight the coronavirus.
It also noted that all the 2020 taxes withheld by the BCS amounting to PHP2,175,240.17 were remitted in full within the prescribed period.
The BCS got the COA’s highest audit rating for the fifth straight year.
Just like the three PCOO’s attached agencies, PBS-RTVM did not receive a Covid-19 budget but disbursed a total of PHP1,668,504 sourced from its regular budget for the payment of its employees’ hazard pay, payment to isolation facilities, and purchase of air purifier, face masks, and face shields, the COA said.
The COA added that the PBS-RTVM remitted in full all taxes withheld during Fiscal Year 2020, which amounted to PHP4,235,022.06.
PBS-RTVM also received the highest audit rating in 2019.
The COA said it has “sufficient and appropriate” basis to render “unqualified opinion” on the financial statements of NIB, BBS, BCS, and PBS-RTVM.
The other attached agencies of PCOO are the Philippine Information Agency, the National Printing Office, the People’s Television Network, Inc., the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp., and the APO Production Unit.
The “unqualified audit opinion” is considered the best mark a government agency can get from COA.
It is issued when the state auditor believes that a government office makes a fair and appropriate presentation of its financial statements without any identified exceptions during the audit.
A government agency also gets the best audit rating if it makes an accurate disclosure of all changes, accounting policies, and their applications and effects. (PNA)