Four in 10 personnel positions – or a total of 5,826 – in the Commission on Audit (COA) are vacant, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said as he urged the independent Constitutional body to go on a hiring binge to fill up the staffing shortfall.
Recto said the manpower lack will be aggravated when 1,000 personnel of COA who are in the 61-65 age group retire.
“That’s the equivalent of 10 Army battalions,” he said.
Citing 2022 national budget documents, Recto said COA has 14,102 authorized staff positions, of which only 8,276 are filled.
“The infusion of young blood is made more urgent if we include the 2,487 COA personnel who are between 56 and 65 years of age. If you audit their workforce, the conclusion is that 30 percent of COA auditors are in the sunset of their careers,” he said.
Recto called on COA to be more aggressive and creative in scouting talents.
“We need millennials who will receive the baton from the millenniors. This will give enough time for the veterans to mentor the rookies,” he said.
He said the national government should also do its part by extending to COA all the financial resources it needs to fulfill its mandate of checking if public expenditures are according to law.
Recto said COA’s P14.4 billion obligation budget for 2022 is miniscule compared to next year’s P5.037 trillion national spending program.
“It is as if we are paying an audit fee of P2.87 for every P1,000 in expenditures. Small price to pay for keeping the government honest,” Recto said.