Commission on Audit issues Guidelines on the use of Electronic Documents, Signatures, and Digital Signatures in Government Transactions
In a Circular dated September 6, 2021, the Commission on Audit set the guidelines in using electronic documents, electronic signatures, and digital signatures in government transactions. The guidelines were issued for the purpose of determining accountability and resolving doubts over the reliability of information used as audit evidence. Consequently, the circular covers electronic document submissions in lieu of paper documents where the signature of an authorized signatory is required, and primarily governs the use of digital and other types of electronic signatures in government transactions under the jurisdiction of Commission.
Under the guidelines, the submission of electronic documents with electronic and digital signatures following the Circular shall be considered as sufficient compliance to the requirement of submission of a duly signed document as any other duly signed paper document used in government transactions. The Circular requires all officials and employees designated/authorized to sign documents using digital signature to apply for individual certificates with the DICT through its PNPKI service.
The Circular defined an Electronic Document as information or the representation of information, data, figures, symbols or other modes of written expression by which a right is established or an obligation extinguished, or by which a fact may be proved and affirmed, which is delivered electronically. A Digital Signature was defined as a secure type of electronic signature consisting of a transformation of an electronic document or an electronic data message using an asymmetric or public cryptosystem. The COA also defined an Electronic Signature as any distinctive mark, characteristic and/or sound in electronic form representing the identity of a person, attached to or associated with the electronic data message or electronic document.
Access the full COA Circular here.