THE COMMISSION on Audit (CoA) on Tuesday asked for the Senate to restore its proposed budget for next year to P14.5 billion from the P13.8 billion allotted by the Budget department.

The agency needs the extra amount for the maintenance and operating expenses of auditing offices in the provinces, Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc told a budget hearing.

CoA has 58 satellite offices, while 10 more are under construction, he added.

“We’ll do our best,” Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara, who heads the finance committee, said. “The Senate has increased the CoA budget in the last four years, and probably even longer, so I think going by history, our batting average is good.”

Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay asked CoA to update the Senate on its recruitment of auditors, which she said has been an issue for years.

Mr. Pondoc said more state auditors are leaving than joining the agency, especially with the 10-year gap when they did not hire people.

“Many of the CoA employees are already at the age of retirement,” he added.

The Senate body asked CoA to submit a report on its workforce. Its budget was endorsed for plenary debates. — ANOT