Members of the Management Committee (ManCom) of the DA-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) convened on May 6, 2024 for the “Internal Audit Awareness Seminar” conducted by the Systems and Productivity Improvement Bureau (SPIB) of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The seminar aimed to provide key personnel of DA-NFRDI with foundational knowledge on internal audit and internal control. It included topics on legal bases, elements, concepts, and components of internal control, as well as different types of internal audit, establishment of the Internal Audit Unit (IAU), and roles and responsibilities of top management and delivery units in establishing the agency’s internal control system, among others.

In her opening message, NFRDI Executive Director Dr. Lilian Garcia emphasized the necessity of cooperation and collaboration in achieving a rigorous system of internal control in the Institute. She then expressed her confidence that the ManCom was up to this challenge: “NFRDI is both old and young as an institution—old, because most of our key staff came from BFAR and have been a government employee for decades; young, because NFRDI only became a full-fledged attached agency of DA five years ago. This is why we are only beginning to establish our Internal Audit Unit (IAU). Nevertheless, I am confident that NFRDI can do this because these people are some of the most hardworking public servants I know.”

DBM-SPIB Director John Aries Macaspac presented “Principles and Concepts of Internal Control,” using the National Guidelines on Internal Control Systems (NGICS) as the primary resource. He guided the participants through the importance of internal control in an organization, how it operates, and who leads its implementation.

This was followed by a back-to-back discussion on the “Concept and Principles of Internal Audit” by DBM-SPIB Acting Assistant Director Rochelle Ramirez and Supervising Budget and Management Specialist Maria Concepcion Perez. They delved into a more in-depth understanding of internal audit, including its history in the Philippine setting and the evolution of its role in the Philippine government.

Each session was followed by an open forum, which allowed participants to apply the principles that had been covered in the discussions to practical applications and implications.

With a realigned appreciation of internal audit and issues surrounding it, the participants expressed their commitment to work together to strengthen the internal controls of the Institute and establish a working and effective IAU. ### (Carmina Karen Bernardo)