MANILA – The Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) earned a “qualified opinion” audit rating from the Commission on Audit (COA) for its financial report for the fiscal year 2021, the foundation’s highest since 2016.

Under the helm of the then newly-installed Executive Director Gertie Duran-Batocabe, it has improved its performance through strategic interventions, full implementation and compliance with the state auditors’ recommendations after the agency received a “Disclaimer of Audit Opinion” in the past year.

NPF has also made significant strides in addressing its fiscal challenges and is finally on its way to closing the gap in budget utilization. From a 56.86 percent obligation rate in 2020, the agency’s budget utilization is up at 90 percent in 2021.

In a speech, Duran-Batocabe acknowledged the efforts of the employees, thanking them and said: “This honor is yours."

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, NPF, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DOT), has been steadfast in its support of the national government’s Covid-19 pandemic response while pursuing its mandate in promoting the Filipino identity and cultural heritage.

In June 2020, NPF opened its doors to host the two-hectare Inter-Agency Task Force quarantine facility and in June 2021, the agency once again paved the way to accommodate the 10,000-square-meter mega vaccination site.

Amid the unexpected challenges, the agency has not set aside pursuing its core mandates by strengthening its programs.

The NPF produced a Conceptual Master Plan that shall serve as a compendium of site information and planning tools that can be used for the development of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation Cultural Parks and Creative Hub.

NPF also led the Museo ng Nayong Pilipino - Virtual Museum Project, a quarterly digital exhibition showcasing the various ethnographic categories in the NPF Collection.

The agency also held its first virtual Research Summit in August 2021, gathering several experts from different disciplines and attended by students from various universities and Local Government Units.

NPF’s Cultural Leadership Institute was further amplified through the MakaNayon Leadership Course, a seminar for cultural and/or tourism frontline workers.

The five-module interactive courses were recently vetted and shall serve as a resource material for a more cumulative capacity building which may be used by the DOT, its attached agencies, and other allied government institutions.

Duran-Batocabe thanked her mentors, Guiller Asido and Vincent Cańares of the Intramuros Administration, DOT Undersecretary Edwin Enrile, and DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

“I am thankful for the guidance they have given me in steering this agency to greater opportunities and assistance every step of the way,” she said.

"There is still much to be done, but to quote our honorable Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, 'we hope to leave it better',” she added. (PR)