Innovators in Governance
This was written in my capacity as the Rapporteur General of Government Financial Management Innovators Circle, Inc. (formerly Electronic Financials Users’ Circle or EUC) for their 2016 Conference with the theme of Innovators in Governance. It was held on 9-10 November 2016, Tagaytay, Philippines.
Summary of Proceedings
Written below are the highlights of the conference last 9-10 November 2016.
Opening Remarks and Statement of Purpose
Director Ma. Lourdes V. Dedal, Chairperson, 2016 Membership Conference
Director Ma. Lourdes V. Dedal officially opened the 2016 Membership Conference of the Electronic Financial Users’ Circle (EUC) and stated the purpose.
President Carmela S. Perez, DBA
President Perez thanked sincerely all the participants of the Convention for coming. She highlighted the continuing programs that form part of the integrated financial systems. She also stressed that one of the advocacies of EUC is to promote good governance in the grassroots and part of the conference is the break-away session for those from barangays to introduce a system that will help them.
She also thanked the EUC committees and all participants for their continuing support to the organization. She said that the next two days are filled with relevant topics, and she took advantage of the opportunity to invite them to the EUC Annual Convention to be held in Legazpi City on March 7-10, 2017.
Finally, she welcomed everyone to the Conference, and enjoined them to make the most of this opportunity to learn so that all can help to serve our country.
Congressman Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado, as delivered by representative Mr. Marcos Dioso, Jr.
He highlighted the primary function of EUC to complement in establishing an efficient governance across the land. The talk revolved around how innovations can be incorporated in Philippine bureaucracy. Innovators in governance are the ones who seek to try new products in the hope of improving the way things are implemented in a particular entity. He is hopeful that more innovations can enable agriculture to raise productivity in world standard, attain global competitiveness and communication based on transformation, and produce competitive products that are at par with international standards.
In closing, he expressed his wish for the organizers continued success and to hurdle the financial problems in light of a new leadership. He encouraged all to be innovators themselves, seeing things in different perspectives, and congratulated the officers and members.
Presentation of Plaque to former DBM Undersecretary Richard E. Moya, EUC Adviser
He expressed his gratitude to EUC Officers for the plaque given to him. He further said that E-Government cannot happen when there are no E-civil servants. That is why we have to learn to be comfortable with digital technology because there is no turning back. He emphasized that the other part that makes the government employees important over time is the reality of transition. He explained how in every term the leaders and the cabinet members are the only ones that change in every administration, but what sustain the bureaucracy is the 1.6 million civil servants in its entire system. In the end what is more important is to harness the digitization. Lastly, he also enjoined all to mature in optimizing relations. What cannot be digitized is our ability to relate with others and the civility to interact with other people.
Technical Session 1: Updates on eNGAS and Other Information Systems
Director Luzvi Pangan-Chatto as represented by OIC Director Elena B. Monteza Government Accountancy Sector, Commission on Audit (COA)
The speaker started off with the legal basis for the PFM Reform, Section 2, Article IX-D, 1987 Philippine Constitution which stipulates the following: promulgate accounting rules and regulations, submit annual financial reports to the President and Congress, keep the general accounts of the government, and preserve the vouchers and supporting papers pertaining thereto. She discussed lengthily the key IT-related softwares which started in 2003, namely the Electronic New Government Accounting System (eNGAS) and the Electronic Budget System (eBS), and the enhanced versions.
Key Accomplishments are the installation of and conduct of financial and technical training on enhanced eNGAS; and for Other IT Systems, the accomplishments include the following:
- Developed and implemented user-friendly/web-based Annual Financial Report System (AFRS) and Budget and Financial Accountability Report System (BFARS) – compliant with PPSAS, UACS, RCA, GAM;
- Announced availability of AFRS and BFARS through COA Circular No. 2015-005 dated July 16, 2015;
- Created users’ access credentials;
- Enhanced and implemented eTicket system for the monitoring and resolution of technical issues on the implementation of eNGAS and eBudget system; and
- Prepared conceptual framework and design of the web-based Keeping the General Accounts of the National Government System (KGAS).
Planned Next Steps
- Implement the enhanced versions of eNGAS and eBudget system in other NGAs and LGUs
- Enhance eNGAS and eBudget System for Government Corporations classified as Non-Government Business Enterprises to make them PPSAS and RCA-compliant
- Intensify capacity-building of users of eNGAS, eBudget system and other IT systems
- Render technical assistance to users in the resolution of issues/concerns on the use of the eNGAS, eBudget system and other IT systems (ongoing activity).
- Continue enhancing the AFRS and BFARS based on additional user requirement
- Coordinate with the DBM for the linkage of the BFARS with the DBM-developed Unified Reporting System (URS)
- Develop and implement KGAS
Technical Session 2: Financial Integrity of Government Operations and Accountability Results
Deputy Executive Secretary Alberto A. Bernardo, Office of the President
The speaker discussed about the legal bases of internal control such as responsibility for internal control, and effective and efficient internal control. Along this line, he also talked about the internal control objectives, namely: 1) to safeguard assets, 2) check accuracy and reliability of accounting data, 3) to adhere to managerial policies, 4) comply with laws, rules and regulations, and 5) to ensure effective, efficient, economical and ethical operations.
In addition, he also tackled the Planning, Budget and Performance Accountability that involves planning, budgeting – budget preparation, budget authorization, budget execution, budget accountability, performance evaluation, and performance rating as well as discipline.
He also stressed the importance of discipline and reminded the participants that public office is a public trust, thus, public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, and act with patriotism.
Finally, he reminded the financial users of the role of discipline in carrying out financial management.
Technical Session 3: Coping with Health Constraints
Dr. Nova Christine A. Dela Cruz, Dermatologist and Fellow, Philippine Dermatological Society
The health expert discussed the importance of maintaining and living a healthy lifestyle. She explained salient health issues like forms of exercise, formula for a fit life and current health concerns and trends. Some of the relevant factors that have to look into consideration are genes, body mass index, environment/ lifestyle, fruits and vegetable intake, and quality of supplements.
As a current health concern, there is a notable increase of obesity cases in society. Risks associated with obesity are heart disease, cancer, CV disease, among others. Hence, the need for weight loss, which does not mean only shredding peripheral fat but eating the right way and thus getting the right results. A 10-minute exercise is also highly recommended or the HIIT (high intensity interval training). To conclude, she suggested a formula for a healthy life – exercise, balanced diet and supplements. Lastly, she reminded all – “We spend our health to get wealth, and later spend our wealth trying to get back our health. Invest now on your health.”
Technical Session 4: Accounting and Auditing Reforms: Government Accounting Manual
Assistant Commissioner Lourdes M. Castillo, COA (Government Accountancy Sector)
The speaker discussed the accounting and auditing reforms with the following outline: COA Constitutional mandate, accounting and auditing reforms, progress and challenges, lessons learned, and moving forward. The three major roles of COA, are as follows:
- rule-making – promulgate accounting rules and regulations;
- reporting – submit Annual Financial Reports to the President and to the Congress on the financial position and results of operation (financial performance) of the government; and
- bookkeeping – keep the general accounts of the government.
- rule-making – promulgate auditing rules and regulations;
- Auditorial – examine, audit and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to the government; and
- Recommendatory – recommend measures to improve the efficiency, economy and effectiveness of government operations.
She stated that one of the main strategic goals of COA right now is for COA to be proactive, to be a partner, to be an enabler (not disabler). She further related that COA is undertaking to have uniform standards, like the unified audit approach and to shift towards performance auditing where focus is on outcome instead of output.
For Public Financial Management (PFM) Reforms, it started with the PFM System Evaluation, a major project where the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment was conducted with the help of World Bank and AusAid. The Philippines was subjected to said assessment in 2007 based on the six benchmarks of a good PFM, namely: 1) credibility of the budget, 2) comprehensiveness and transparency, 3) policy-based budgeting, 4) predictability and control in budget execution, 5) accounting, recording and reporting, and 6) external scrutiny and audit.
Some gaps or areas of improvement were found, namely: the lack of budget credibility, the absence of a results-based budget, the lack of funding predictability, the presence of a weak budget oversight by Congress and the public, and lastly, the weak cash management system.
For accounting reforms, she discussed the key accomplishments like the adoption of the Philippine Public Sector Accounting Standards; Revised Chart of Accounts for national government agencies, local government units, and government corporations; Government Accounting Manual (GAM); Unified Accounts Code Structure; Performance Informed Budgeting; Single Treasury Account; Integrated Financial Management System; General Appropriations Act as Release Document; Checkless Payments; and Expanded MDPS CPA.
Lastly, she mentioned about the Citizen Participatory Audit where the citizens should be aware of the project implementation.
Technical Session 5: Finance 101: Staying Debt-Free
Mr. Chinkee Tan, Wealth Coach and Radio/TV Host
The guest speaker provided general ways how to be financially independent. He first tackled on the need for good intentions, right decisions and right information in order to reach one’s destination. To be financially empowered means to make the right decisions and choices. He stressed that: “Ang pag-yaman ay nagsisimula sa kung paano ka mag-isip.” He believes that Mindset + Action = Result, and that rich mindset, rich action, rich result. You cannot live a positive life when you do not have a positive mindset.
He also discussed the intertwining relations of money and marriage where 50% of marriages fail and finances is the leading cause of separation. Also, senior citizens have to be financially prepared.
At age 65, 45% are dependent on relatives, 30% are dependent on charity, 23% are still working, and 2% are financially independent. The time people stop working also signifies of the period when they stop earning. But it is worthy to point out, however, that they will not stop spending. Hence, he convinced the audience of the need to plan and to save. His formula in life to save is as follows:
Income – Savings = Expenses (not Income-Expenses = Savings)
He also shared that for himself, he observed this guide:
Income = 50% Savings
25% Investment in business
He reminded the body that when we stop working, we stop earning. But we will not stop spending. Thus, it is important to: Save! Save! Save! He further shared that as they say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” He concluded his talk by explaining that it is not about how much money one makes but how much money he/she saves. And sometimes, people earn a lot but are not able to save because of lifestyle.
Technical Session 6: The National Health Insurance Fund and PhilHealth Enhanced Benefits
Mr. Gregorio C. Rulloda, OIC Senior Vice President, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation
In general, the speaker talked about the agenda for 2016-2022 with the tagline of “All for Health towards Health for All”. The health system that his office aspires for the Filipino people revolves around financial protection especially for the poor, better health outcomes with no disparity, and responsiveness. It is indeed a good news to know that Philhealth serves as the gateway to free or affordable care. As long as the individual is a certified Filipino he/she is automatically a member, and thus, entitled to the health benefits.
The Philhealth framework includes the ACHIEVE strategy in order to carry out their objectives. Specifically, this signifies: Advancing health promotion, primary care and quality; Covering all Filipinos against financial health risk; Harnessing the power of strategic Human Resource for Health; Investing in eHealth and data for decision-making; Enforcing standards, accountability and transparency; Valuing clients and patients; and Eliciting multi-stakeholder support for health.
He further discussed the Attainment of Universal Coverage thru point of service, Accreditations, Institutional Health Care Providers (IHCP), and e-Philhealth Services, and the new and enhanced Philhealth Benefits. These include the In-patient benefits for sickness or ailments that need confinement of not less than 24 hours; and Philhealth Plus thru HMO/PhilHealth. DBM will allocate funds for the provision of Philhealth Plus to all government employees.
Membership Meeting and President’s Report
Assistant Commissioner Perez presided the meeting and she also presented the highlights of the accomplishments of the EUC for CY 2016 as well as the plans for the forthcoming year.
A. 9th Annual National Convention on March 7-10, 2017
C. Election of BOD in March 2017
D. Convention Resolutions
- Support to COA GAS
- Travel Rates
- Donation of P50,000.00 to LAWIN victimS
E. President’s Report
- Increased membership & professional development of members
- More Improved Implementation of Government PFM Reform Program
- Collaboration with oversight agencies, local and international professional associations (ICGFM)
- Projects and Programs to be Sustained
F. Conference Highlights
G. Challenge to Action – You Make Things Happen For Us!
- Let us put to practice what we have learned in our conferences and become the best PFM professional we can be in our respective workplaces.
- Continue to have meaningful membership experiences with us in EUC.
This was published originally in the website of EUC at http://euc-inc.ph/download-page/.
More information about GFMIC can be accessed at https://gfmic.ph/