MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has requested the Human Rights Commission (CHR) to have hired 130 consultants last year, at a total contract cost of 24.457 million pesos.
In its 2021 annual audit report, the COA noted that the contracts entered into by the CHR with the consultants had not been the subject of any market study.
State auditors pointed out that with respect to hiring consultants, market research is required under Republic Act 9184 or the Public Procurement Reform Act to determine the terms and conditions and the most advantageous contract costs.
The COA said the contracts were signed by the CHR without the approval of the resident state auditors.
“None of the procurement processes involving a COS (service contract) were observed by the resident COA, apparently unaware of the importance of transparency as a fundamental principle of public procurement,” the report said.
The COA specifically cited the hiring by the CHR of eight legal specialists at a contract cost of 4.288 million pesos.
Other contracts reported included the hiring of 18 consultants in different areas of expertise for 4.968 million pesos as well as 16 “specialists” at a cost of 4.719 million pesos.
Government auditors also questioned the CHR’s hiring of 28 content creators or module developers for 2.853 million pesos, three consultants for climate change issues costing 1.476 million pesos and 17 consultants for climate change advocacy. mental health costing the human rights body 1.356 million pesos.
The ACO used the central office of the CHR as well as its offices in the National Capital Region and the Cordillera Administrative Region for the contracts.
The CHR admitted that the hiring of the consultants under the COS program did not go through the required procurement process, as the end-user offices carried out “all the work and were then approved by the commission en banc by issuing a resolution”.
The auditing body said the CHR had agreed to remind its offices to follow the rules for hiring consultants under RA 9184.
The COA said the CHR has also committed to reminding its procurement division to notify auditors of the hiring of consultants under the COS program.