The Quezon City government has received a second unqualified opinion from the Commission on Audit (COA) for its annual audit report for the year 2021, Mayor Joy Belmonte announced on Wednesday.

Belmonte revealed the good news during her inaugural speech after she was sworn into office for her fresh three-year term by Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo at the EVM Convention Center.

“Tayo ay muling tumanggap ng unqualified opinion sa ikalawang sunod na taon. Ibig sabihin, naging masinop ang ating paggastos ng pondo ng bayan alinsunod sa mga reglamento,” she said. 

“Good governance is not something that you achieve and are done with. It is a continuing process that requires will and determination. We stay alert and stand firm, here and now, in our commitment, and will exert every effort in the days to come to improve upon our hard-won gains,” she added.

It was the second straight unqualified opinion received by the Quezon City government, which also earned its first “unqualified opinion” from the COA for its annual audit report for the year 2020. 

The report was handed by COA Supervising Auditor Joseph Perez, who informed Belmonte in a letter last Jan. 31 that his office has examined and evaluated pertinent details submitted in various letters by resident auditors in 2021.

According to Perez, previous reports about “lacking documents” have already been substantially complied with.”

The COA said “unqualified opinion”, also referred to as unmodified opinion, is issued when the auditor concludes that the financial statements are prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework.

During her speech, Belmonte committed to further expand and hasten the delivery of social services to address the needs of QCitizens, saying she would aim to surpass that achievement of her administration in her first term when it comes to social services.

“Hindi po sapat ang mga pasasalamat, kaya susubukan na lamang po naming tumbasan ng tapat ng paglilingkod ang inyong ipinahiram na tiwala sa amin,” she added.

Every year, Belmonte said the Quezon City government progressively increased the budget dedicated to social services for the marginalized and underprivileged sectors, from P9.8 billion to P16.1 billion this year.

“Our 16.1 billion peso budget for social services, which we intend to keep on increasing in the next three years, promises to be an inclusive social safety net for all marginalized and underprivileged sectors,” she said.

The local government will also launch the Alagang QC Program, where it will provide financial assistance to those who lost and will lose their employment and other means of livelihood.

Furthermore, Belmonte said the local government will provide vulnerable Quezon City residents like indigent seniors, solo parents and persons with disability who are not receiving any other support, with monthly financial assistance under its Social Welfare Program.

“This will help the most seriously disadvantaged members of our community secure rice and other basic goods that they need,” she said.

After providing safe and comfortable security of tenure to more than 17,000 families in the past three years under her housing program, Belmonte said the acquisition of 36 hectares of real property for distribution and the construction of more housing projects are underway.

Aside from boosting the city’s health care services through renovation and upgrading of health centers and the hiring of additional health care workers, Belmonte announced that a local government hospital in District 6 will soon be operational. 

“Sa susunod, hindi lang District 1, District 2, at District 5 ang may local government hospital dahil magkakaroon na tayo ng ospital sa District 6,” she said.

In terms of education, Belmonte said the local government is set to establish more QCU branches and will roll out a comprehensive scholarship program for all students in grade levels senior high school, tertiary or college, master, and doctorate degrees, as well as for athletes and those taking vocational courses. 

In her second term, Belmonte said Quezon City will be the nation’s capital for people’s participation and inclusive governance with the creation of the QC People’s Council.

“Our Quezon City People’s Council will push for the right of every individual to participate in policy-formulation, hands-on implementation and vigilant oversight, regardless of age, gender, or industry,” she pointed out.

The Mayor also promised to continue her aim to automate and digitalize all transactions with the city government, such as permits, taxes and social services, and the establishment of essential infrastructure projects that would improve the standard of living in the city, including transportation, internet and tourism.

She then called on QCitizens to unite and help the city government achieve its mission to boost the delivery of quality service to each and every resident.

“Kailangang maging iisa ang ating isip, puso at mga kamay, sa paghahatid ng pinakamataas na kalidad ng serbisyo para sa bawat QCitizen,” Belmonte said.