Coming down to the Philippines’ famous City of Love – Iloilo, ISA’s 21st Governance Boot Camp sparked the start of many governance journeys of different public institutions. In partnership with the City Government of Iloilo, the Boot Camp gathered 120 delegates from across the country for three days of leadership training and governance best practice sharing. Designed to promote solidarity along with experiential learning, delegates sat among a mix of other representatives from national agencies, local government units, and public hospitals. 

To kick off the program, each delegate shared their institutions’ story and challenges among fellow bootcampers through the Networking Circuit. Not long after, the first module on the Boot Camp Primer began. Delegates familiarized themselves with the elements of the Performance Governance System (PGS), and later heard from Ms. Bernice Esguerra, ISA’s Manager for Resource Development Unit, on how these elements are clustered within the upcoming Boot Camp modules. 

(1st photo) Ms. Chrisamor I. Clarisa from the City Government of General Santos shares her institution’s story to fellow delegates. (2nd photo) ISA Program Coordinator Joshua Iñola explains the PGS elements.

Sniffing for smart strategies

Later in the afternoon, ISA Executive Director Mr. Christian P. Zaens led the module on Strategy Fundamentals. There, he tackled the views of three strategy thought leaders, Peter Drucker, Roger Martin, and Michael Porter, before summarizing that strategy entails systemic change that can lead to a different future state. 

He then introduced the concept and elements of a Strategic Position—a statement that reflects how the institution veers away from its current way of doing things. Afterwards, Mr. Zaens laid out how a strategy becomes an integrated set of impact, position, and core and support functions—all summarized in one roadmap.

Delegates accomplish a workshop activity on forming a strategic roadmap.

The second day began with a discussion on the hows of strategy execution. Mr. Zaens’ module on Disciplined Execution tackled five key disciplines necessary to execution: Depth, Breadth, Subsidiarity, Engagement, and Accountability. On crafting their institutions’ strategies, he advised delegates to create strategic statements that are unique to the institution rather than generic and broad. 

Breaking the brainwork

Momentarily breaking the brainwork of the second day was a visually charged performance by Tribu Panayanon of the Iloilo City National High School. This was inspired by Iloilo City’s famous Dinagyang Festival dedicated to the Sto. Niño. Afterwards, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas took the stage to deliver a moving message on the impact of governance.

(1st and 2nd photos) Tribu Panayanon of the Iloilo City National High School perform a Dinagyang-inspired dance. (3rd and 4th photos) Mayor Jerry P. Treñas gives his speech and later accepts a token from ISA Trustee Rex C. Drilon II.

“Iloilo was among the first to [work with] ISA and we are happy that we [did],” said Mayor Treñas. He recounted how Iloilo City was able to boost its tourism and local economy through a roadmap that strengthens welfare, health, environmental management, education, livelihood, and overall sustainability.

Looking to the past and the future

Mr. Zaens later wrapped up the second day with a module entitled “Beyond Cascading.” Here, he walked the delegates through the Conversation, Feedback, and Recognition Framework, which allows institutions to detect early results of their goal by looking at the past performance and using it to fine-tune the future progression.

At the end of the day, delegates traveled through the decades and donned 70s-style outfits for the Boot Camp Theme Night. Each group vied for prizes by participating in groovy games, musical challenges, and group cheer performances. 

Delegates in 70s-themed outfits enjoy a night of games, activities, and performances.

Innovating for better engagement

On the last day of Boot Camp, ISA invited PGS practitioners Ms. Michaela Delfinado of the Provincial Government of La Union, Dr. Rene H. Francisco of Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center, and BGEN ADRIANO S PEREZ (AFP) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They each discussed the key players involved in the PGS—the Office for Strategy Management (OSM), the PGS Core Team, and the Multi-Sector Governance Council (MSGC)—respectively.

From left to right: BGEN ADRIANO S PEREZ (AFP), Dr. Rene H. Francisco, and Ms. Michaela Delfinado sit down for the PGS Movers Panel Discussion.

Ms. Delfinado recounted the challenges of establishing an OSM, including the unit being viewed as a “fault-finder.” She then narrated how the Province responded by innovating their ways of engaging lower units to counter the negative perception.

Meanwhile, for Dr. Francisco, resistance to change was an initial roadblock for the PGS Core Team as the mentality of “not fixing what ain’t broke” prevailed. In response, the Core Team simplified the strategy in creative ways through the #UsapangPGS campaign, which effectively communicated the importance of the PGS. 

Lastly, BGEN PEREZ underscored the crucial role of the MSGC in championing the strategy to external stakeholders. He then shared the concrete initiatives that the MSGC of AFP led which, though executed externally, were always anchored on the AFP’s strategic objectives.

(1st photo) Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao gives his lecture on “Building our Dream Philippines”. (2nd photo) Boot Camp 21 Ultimate Governance Warrior Dr. Anthony Sales leads the recital of the National Solidarity Covenant.

As a send off to the delegates, ISA Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao delivered the “Building Our Dream Philippines” module, in which he broadened the horizon for the delegates. Dr. Estanislao reminded them that the bigger mission shared by all delegates was not only to improve their institutions but also to move their sectors towards national development.

Finally bringing the Boot Camp to a close was the recital of the National Solidarity Covenant led by Boot Camp 21 Ultimate Governance Warrior, Dr. Anthony Sales of the Department of Science and Technology – Region XI. With that, the delegates went back to their institutions with renewed inspiration to start and stay the course of their governance journeys for one Dream Philippines.


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