Filipinos on Top of the World

Related to the article I posted a while ago, here’s another article written by Edel Mary D. Vegamora, the CIA Country Coordinator for the Philippines.

(Note: this was originally posted in her multiply blog, “From Edel’s Observation Deck“, which is the same article published as a pdf file in the IIA Philippines website. The article was reposted with the permission of Ms. Edel Mary herself.)

Written for IIA by: Edel Mary D. Vegamora
CIA Country Coordinator-Philippines

In the midst of the present local political controversies, further aggravated by the disturbing developments from the U.S. impending recession, which have brought about a string of panic not only in North America’s but also in Europe’s financial markets, then creating this growing threat to asset values and liquidity (as in the case of a reputable investment bank having to be bailed out of its liquidity crunch leading to its eventual sell-off), and then bringing these to bear in our local financial markets, and while several financial institutions are presently encountering an unexpected steep fall in sales — ah, this tiny bit of news, about ordinary Filipinos establishing their mark in the global arena, is most welcome, something quite different, a breath of fresh air, indeed, must I say, against the murk of panic and depression.

On March 12, 2007, the Institute of Internal Auditors Inc. International (IIA, Inc.) sent me the following electronic message:

Hello Edel Mary,

I am sorry for the delay in reporting the November 2007 global exam award winners, but I believe you will be very happy with the results.

Letters are attached for:
GOLD MEDAL: Ryan Gilbert Khu Chua;
CERTIFICATES OF EXCELLENCE: Alvin Salvatierra Caballero, Joseph Tan Cruz;
CERTIFICATES OF HONOR: Christopher Barrameda Abelinde, Leo Doctolero Caldona, Crystle Lorraine Barcelon Tan, Gilda Anabell Jeng Uy, Marco Fernando Lumanlan Ng, Kristine Marie Marquez Sy, Jameswil Ahuday Yadang, Annaliza Guanco Tan-Cimafranca, Annabeth Arceo Rodriguez

The IIA is internationally recognized as a trustworthy guidance-setting body. Serving members in 165 countries, the IIA is the internal audit profession’s global voice, chief advocate, recognized authority, acknowledged leader, and principal educator on governance, risk, and internal control.


Patricia L. Brame
The Institute of Internal Auditors
Global Headquarters.

We arranged for an immediate gathering of the Board of Directors of IIA-Philippines together with the above-named awardees, who were not yet made aware of their specific global standing. At the dinner-meeting in the Makati CBD, the group applauded each individual who was being awarded with the Certificate of Honor and then the Certificate of Excellence, while holding their breath for the possibility of the remaining few, who were not yet being called, to be recipients of the higher global awards. As we called on Ryan Gilbert Chua, an auditor of SGV&Co/EY, and announcing that he was the Global Gold Medallist, the group suddenly burst into winning cheers, congratulations generously flowing that evening, and many with “Praise God!” exaltations, I even saw someone in tears. The CIA Gold Medal means that Ryan is on ‘Top of the World’ as an internal audit & control professional, and he will be recognized at the International Audit Conference in the United States, in the presence of an audience of about 2,000 international delegates, with the privilege of press releases, as well as a handsome all-travel-expenses-paid package award from the The IIA, Inc. International. It seemed to me, as I observed Ryan that evening, that he took the global award quite levelheadedly. I gathered later from the exchange of conversations that getting to the Top is not new to Ryan, who is also a Top4 of the Philippines CPA Board examinations.

In recognition of professional excellence, The Institute of Internal Auditors- Philippines (IIA-P) will be celebrating its 60th Organizational Anniversary in October 2008. The Certified Internal Auditor®, the Certification in Control Self-Assessment®, and the Certified Financial Services Auditor® designations will be honored in this celebration. IIA members and guests from all over the country, Asia, and the U.S. will gather here in the Philippines, to recognize and celebrate professional excellence.

The CIA designation is The IIA’s premiere certification and is the only professional designation, for internal auditors as well as control professionals that is recognized worldwide. The CCSA designation allows candidates to prove their knowledge of CSA approaches, risks and controls, and organizational performance. The CGAP is awarded to individuals who demonstrate knowledge of auditing practices, methodologies, and skills in the government sector. The CFSA measures an individual’s knowledge and proficiency in the audit practices within banking, insurance and securities. All candidates receiving one or all of the above designations have met the rigorous requirements of The Institute of Internal Auditors’ certification programs. They have attained all of the attributes of a professional: a college education, work experience, continuing professional development, and knowledge of The IIA’s International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (ISPPIA), and successful completion of the certification examination.

Regulatory support for the IIA’s international standards for the professional practice of internal auditing has been evident in the last decade.

  • The Philippines’ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) had issued a Circular in 2005 which provides that internal auditing functions of banks shall embody the ISSPIA in their conduct of the internal audit services within their respective banking organizations. The BSP, itself, has adopted the CIA designation as a premier certification for the BSP bank examiners, and the BSP Institute is already on its 2nd year offering of its in-house CIA review seminars to its BSP candidates who aspire to sit for the CIA global examinations. In the recent two years, three BSP candidates have likewise received Global Awards, such as the CIA Certificate of Excellence (Ferdinand Mariscotes, Nov2006) and the CIA Certificate of Honor (Renee Lyn Oidem Santos,May2007 and Annaliza Guanco Tan-Cimafranca, Nov2007).
  • On the other hand, the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had issued a Circular for Code of Corporate Governance, in April 2002, which specifies the definition of internal audit activity, adopted from the IIA,Inc’s Professional Standards, and expects that the internal auditing activity of publicly-listed firms would observe the ISPPIA, as one of the professional standards. Certain provisions in the SEC Code of Corporate Governance point to the important role of the Audit Committee and the Chief Audit Executive, being primarily responsible for the internal audit activity in their organizations. Such provisions of the SEC’s Circular on Code of Corporate Governance had been drafted back in early 2002 with the assistance of the IIA and a few CIAs in the Philippines.
  • Overseas, the Basel 1 & 2 exposure documents and pronouncements, published from the 1990s to the mid 2000s, include some provisions which have adopted the IIA,Inc.’s guidance notes on the international standards for the professional practice of internal auditing. Back in the early 1990s, the Treadway Commission of Sponsoring Organizations had been formed in the U.S., and included the IIA,Inc. and certain expert practitioner-members of the IIA, Inc. International as part of the Commission’s resource groups, which eventually published ‘The Internal Control Framework’ known later as the “COSO Framework”.

The results of the November 2007 global examinations, have shown that the Philippine candidates, have garnered almost half of the Global Awards: 1 Gold Medal (Top1), 2 Certificates of Excellence, and 9 Certificates of Honor. In particular, this Gold Medal Award to Ryan Gilbert Chua, is not the first ever received by a Filipino. To-date, the Philippines, among 165 countries, has the most number of Gold Medalists, in just four years. The IIA Inc. International Board of Regents had awarded the global Gold Medal to: Duke Bajenting-May2004, Duchess Marie Cruz-November2005, Elisheba Manzano-May 2007, and now Ryan Gilbert Khu Chua-November 2007. Our CIA Gold Medalists have also an impressive track record in the Philippines Certified Public Accountants (CPA) government licensure board examinations, with Duke Bajenting being a Top 1 CPA, and Ryan Gilbert Chua being a Top 4 CPA.

The Filipino spirit has been built to shine, even in the competitive global arena. The Filipinos’ innate gift of intelligence, nurtured by the centuries-old culture of valuing and prioritizing education, creating this seemingly unrelenting quest for new knowledge, reaching new heights in learning, and after studying very hard, capping their efforts with their deep faith in God, as they would pray quietly before and during their examinations — are qualities that we could bring to fore, as one tries to understand this unmatched feat of having more Filipinos besting all other candidates from 165 countries worldwide who sat for more than 90,000 parts of the CIA certification examinations.

The IIA, Inc. Int’l. Board of Regents has conferred to Ryan Gilbert Khu Chua the William S. Smith Gold Medal Award for his outstanding performance in the November 2007 Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) examinations. This means that in addition to successfully completing the CIA exam in one sitting, Ryan Gilbert Khu Chua has achieved the highest overall score on this examination, topping all other candidates worldwide who sat for more than 90,000 CIA parts. The Gold Medal is the highest of the prestigious William S. Smith Awards for Outstanding CIA Examination Performance, followed by the Certificate of Excellence Award and Certificate of Honor Award. Congratulations, Ryan, on this momentous achievement! Congratulations also goes to your company, SGV&Co./EY, and your family who must be very proud of you.

On the lighter side of things, I would like to share an observation with you, dear readers. As a financial analyst would study the results to discern any factors as well as any meaningful relationship of events or future possibilities, I must point out a trend here — (not to say that this would be purely coincidental, and yet devoid of logical and scientific explanation), we have a royal entourage among our CIA Gold Medallists.

  • Ryan (Of Gaelic origin, and its meaning is “king”)
  • Duke (Of Old German and Old English origin, and it is a title of nobility, along the lines of Earl and Duke)
  • Duchess ( female title of Nobility)
  • Elisheba (“Princess” in the early biblical days)

I write these notes with a smile, because this, my dear readers, is a wistful coincidence of names; these seemingly ordinary individuals, who, in these present bleak times of our country so beset with innumerable woes, are able to give the Philippines a reason to be proud, grateful and hopeful. I recall the words of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, tinged with his deep conviction that ‘the youth is the hope of the Motherland’. Such a trite recollection piece, one may say, and yet relevant and timely.

The IIA-Philippines(IIA-P), an affiliate of IIA, Inc. International, is proud of the fact that a good number of the CIA awardees and several CIA passers are products of the IIA-P’s CIA technical seminars, which have been conducted by CIA resource speakers, namely Helen de Guzman (VP/CAE, Meralco), Edna de Leon (IIA,Inc.-Certified QAR Team Leader), Mary Jane Rosales (Regional Finance Head, Petron Corp.), Reginald Nery (Partner, KPMG Manabat Sanagustin & Co.), Susan Domingo (Controller, ICTSI), Melanie Oteyza (San Miguel Corp.), Elvira Soriano (VP, RCBC) and John Estioko (VP/CAE, PBCom).

Locally, the IIA-P measures the quality of the Philippine candidates’ results through the average pass rates per batch. The 2007Certification Exam Results Summary, indicate that the Philippines passers have registered CIA average pass rates which generally exceed the global average pass rates.

Certifications  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 
CIA 70% 70% 60% 40%
CFSA 75% N/A N/A N/A
CCSA 75% N/A N/A N/A

The names of the November 2007 successful candidates are listed in the following pages. In all, the Philippines would now have 1,108 successful CIAs among more or less 33,000 CIAs worldwide, who are actively engaged with in the private sector, public sector/ government, multi-lateral development agencies, academe, public accounting firms and consulting firms, as well as in non-stock/non-profit organizations.

The CIA, CCSA, CFSA, and CGAP examinations are offered by the IIA, Inc. Int’l., in 17 languages, across 165 countries. Established in 1941, The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is an international professional association with world headquarters in Altamonte Springs, Florida, USA. The IIA has more than 130,000 members in internal auditing, risk management, governance, internal control, IT audit, education, and security. The IIA is the recognized authority, principal educator, and acknowledged leader in certification, research, and technological guidance for the profession worldwide.

As our CIA Gold Medallist and global topnotchers bring so much pride to the Filipinos, we in IIAP and our fellow CIAs give back all the praises to God Almighty who deserves the ultimate glory!

Written for the IIA, by:
Edel Mary D. Vegamora,CIA
CIA Country Coordinator-Philippines

Thanks to Ms. Edel Mary for allowing me to re-post her article.


Arrielle Green November 17, 2008 Reply

i’m proud to be a Filipino.

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