THE EARLY YEARS
It was 1950, a year of good beginnings.
R.A. No. 433, a law enacted by the Philippine Congress in June 7, 1950 transferred the accounting services to the Budget Commission. Six idealistic men with a vision, understood that the law meant the onset of changes to government accountants. They knew that it was an opportune time to organize and establish an association that would promote the interests of government accountants and, at the same time, improve the practice of government accountancy.
These six men, who dreamt and conceptualized AGAP in October 1, 1950 were the following:
- Bernardo Bumatay
- Eugenio Nabong
- Rosendo San Mateo
- Jose de Kastro
- Bernardo Bravo
- Luis Roque
Like many organizations, the initial goals of AGAP, as enunciated by its founders, were quite modest. They simply wanted to attain and ensure the following objectives:
- To unite all government accountants into an Association so that their common interest in the profession of accountancy may be better protected and fostered;
- To promote and maintain high professional and ethical standards among government and private accountants;
- To advance the science of accountancy and to develop and improve accountancy education;
- To encourage, promote and foster cordial relations, understanding and intercourse among government accountants; and
- To give or render mutual/moral aid and advice freely to any member in all matters pertaining to the accounting service in their respective units, or offices of the government as a whole.
By 1953, Atty. Bumatay realized that the aggrupation they created required a legal personality. Thus, AGAP was registered as a non-stock, non-profit corporation. Its original incorporators were as follows:
- Benardo B. Bumatay
- Jose A. de Kastro
- Juan P. Pedro
- Aurora Rivera
- Felipe Saldaña
- Enrique Martinez
- Maximo Racela
- Franscisco Dalusong
- Rafael Ramos
- Rosendo San Mateo
- Alfonso Perez
- Eugenio Nabong
- Ramiro Abdon
- Mateo Buenaluz
- Bernardo Bravo
There were other significant changes in the government accounting services which occurred in the 1950s.
In 1956, Congress approved Reorganization Plan No. 47-A. Implemented by Executive Order No. 279, the accounting functions were transferred to the respective agencies and departments. However, technical supervision remained with the Budget Commission, specifically through the National Accounting Services.
The AGAP officers were in the forefront of reforms and were thoroughly involved in the training of all accounting personnel at different levels. One day quarterly meetings were conducted by AGAP to discuss the various problems/issues which agency accountants faced. It was likewise a venue to tackle new issuances, policies and procedures.
THE BATON IS PASSED
1960 marked the changing of the guard insofar as the Presidency of the AGAP, was concerned. Atty. Bumatay who served as President from 1950-1959, who led the fledgling organization’s growth, was succeeded by Serafin Soriano, who also was from the National Accounting Service of the Budget Commission.
By this time, AGAP was no longer a small organization with less than a hundred members. It was a steadily growing organization, maturing, strengthening, and beginning to undertake new ideas and projects.
Thus, in 1960, AGAP introduced the concept of a National Convention for Government Accountants. Held at the Teachers Camp, the theme of the First Convention was quite apt for AGAP, as an organization. It was “Widening the Horizons of Government Accountants”.
Baguio City in the 1960’s was not only the summer capital of the Philippines, it was AGAP’s city. The relaxed atmosphere and the easy camaraderie during these early years of AGAP spilled over during their national conventions.
These national conventions assured participants of learning experiences and opportunities for professional growth, while at the same time providing AGAP members with a chance to socially interact in more friendly surroundings.
THE HIATUS OF THE 70’s
The 70s proved to be a decade of contrasts for AGAP, of changing fortunes and radical changes.
The decade started quite well for government accountants. A law i.e., R.A. No. 6404 provided standardized salaries for all personnel constituting the accounting group. In effect, it raised salaries for accounting personnel by 30%. More importantly, the law recognized the important role of accountants in fiscal management of government agencies.
In 1971, AGAP held its 8th National Convention outside Baguio. For the first time, in the history, AGAP had a woman President , Ms. Angelina T. Tecson of the Social Welfare Administration. When Martial Law was declared in September 21, 1972, AGAP momentarily suspended the conduct of its national conventions. Instead, it held periodic membership meetings where various topics of interest were discussed.
1975, saw AGAP celebrating its silver anniversary and its 10th National Convention. At its helm was Irene G. Daleja of the Ministry of the Budget.
The decade saw radical changes taking place in the national arena. PD No. 898, as amended by PD No. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines transferred the technical supervision over accounting units to COA from the Budget Commission.
During this period of radical changes, AGAP went into a long hiatus.
PERIOD OF CONSOLIDATION
After the tumultuous 1970s, the 1980s and 90s proved to be the period of consolidation, stability and unprecedented growth for AGAP. Only two Presidents presided for most of the 1980’s – Amado Esleta (1981-86) and Roberto Banico (1987-88).
In 1989, Maeste Gumtang was elected AGAP President. She served from 1989-97 thereby becoming the second longest serving President of AGAP after Bernardo Bumatay. She oversaw this period of renewal.
AGAP was back with the same vigor and energy it previously exhibited.
Conventions were held twice a year in different provinces with more varied topics and speakers. Membership continued to grow as a result of the decentralization/regional presence of national government agencies, the growing role of the finance sector of local government units and the active participation of government owned or controlled corporations.
AGAP, at the turn of the millennium had matured, weathering the periods of growth and rapid change, of inactivity and societal turbulence.
THE PRESENT AND GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE
More than 50 years after its establishment, AGAP is now a venerable institution. It has remained the same and yet has not remained stagnant, introducing a number of innovations and changes for the welfare of its members.
From a motley group of less than a hundred members, AGAP has grown to its present size of about 10,000 members. Not only accountants have been welcomed to the association. Budget officers, supply officers, cashiers and all personnel belonging to the Finance Group from national government agencies, local government units and government owned or controlled corporations participate, attracted by the feel of family which the AGAP provides.
Conventions are held annually, an event where the awards for Outstanding Accounting Offices are handed out. There is a more glossy feel to the current annual conventions, having evolved from the homey atmosphere of the conventions of the 60’s and 70’s. Yet despite the many changes some things remain the same - learning, sharing, addressing common concerns in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere - the core values of AGAP.
As AGAP approaches its 60th year, it enters the electronic age by launching its own website: www.agap.org.ph. This innovation ensures that relevant information is shared among members at the fastest time possible. It also marks the entry of AGAP to the global village enabling the interchange of ideas and interlinking of projects with and among similarly situated international organizations.
No one really foresaw the enduring quality of this association when it began in 1950.
But its growth is really not that surprising. AGAP had the good fortune of having, as its leaders, men and women who put the interests of association’s members first and foremost, who never veered away from its original objectives of the association.
AGAP has come a long way indeed. Born in the year of good beginnings, it is hoped that the association’s legacy and core values will endure.