A shared sense of curiosity filled the air as medical, military, and education professionals from different organizations gathered for the Skills Lab on Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) organized by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) last August 30, 2019 at Green Sun Hotel in Makati City.

Back for its fourth run, the ERM course is part of ISA’s Skills Lab series — a comprehensive capacity development program focused on teaching technical skills for a more effective and efficient execution of the organization’s strategy. Using the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) as the main source of material for the ERM framework, the event provided delegates an opportunity not only to learn about Risk Assessment and Management, but also to dialogue with colleagues, guest speakers, and other delegates about the application of its concepts.

The program in motion

The morning of the event kicked off with ISA welcoming back its Risk Management expert, Mr. Michael C. Gallego, to lead the lectures and workshops for the day. Mr. Gallego, past president and academic committee chair of the Institute of Internal Auditors Philippines, is currently a partner of the Advisory Division and the Head of the Knowledge Management Unit at P&A Grant Thornton. 

With much enthusiasm, Mr. Gallego set the program in motion, beginning with an introductory lecture on what ERM is. In it, Mr. Gallego underscored the importance of setting an “organizational definition of risk” to steer clear of differences in interpretation among various levels of the organization. On the topic of tools and techniques, he advised delegates “to exercise judgment as [they] go along,” and to refine the tools to fit the organization’s context.

The workshop experience

The second module commenced after lunch with a workshop on Risk Assessment and Identification. Delegates broke out into small groups and began to identify the risks that their organization faced. Some groups, equipped with a copy of their organization’s risk assessment profile, enriched their workshop experience further by initiating a group consultation with Mr. Gallego.

Mr. Michael Gallego works with Valenzuela Medical Center (VMC), headed by their Medical Center Chief
Dr. Maria Estrella Litam (second from left), during the Risk Assessment and Identification workshop.

As the activity ended, two groups, Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center and National Kidney and Transplant Institute, volunteered to share their findings with the rest of the audience.

Securing the delivery of one’s promise

After the identification of one’s risk profile, Mr. Gallego walked the delegates through the next module on Risk Response Monitoring, which covered the four types of response an organization can make against a risk and the possible actions under each type. 

To end his lecture, he drew the audience’s attention back to their respective strategy maps. He then emphasized the importance of harmonizing ERM with strategy and performance, so that the organization can stay on track towards achieving its objectives despite the risks that may hamper it. 

Capping off the event was a presentation by a featured ISA partner that applied the ERM framework to their strategy map, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), represented by Mr. Mark Gabriel V. Solis, Planning and Programs Head.

Mr. Solis recounted his experience in PVAO when they enrolled in ISA’s Performance Governance System (PGS) and integrated risk management to their strategy map. 

He said, “While PGS provides [the] framework and mechanisms [for] delivering our mandate, ERM provides [the] framework and mechanisms [for] identifying ‘uncertains’ and how to best approach them. In other words, [through] ERM, we relatively make uncertainties certain, hence somehow securing the continuing delivery of our promise.”


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