Shaky breaths and nervous smiles were abound when ISA’s long awaited Public Governance Forum (PGF) finally arrived last November 28, 2019. In partnership with PLDT, Metrobank Foundation, Inc., Ayala, Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), Inquirer, and GMA Network, this event gathered over 500 professionals representing local and international groups at Bayanihan Center, Pasig City, to witness the public revalidas of 22 ISA partner organizations undergoing its good governance program. 

A total of 17 public hospitals, four national agencies, and one local government unit were set to undergo the public revalida, a platform where public sector institutions present their impact reports before a carefully selected multi-sector panel. The heads of these institutions showcase the maturation of the Performance Governance System (PGS) after many months of working with ISA for strategy development and implementation. These reports are then vetted by governance and industry experts who can endorse and validate the institution’s achievements in transformative governance. Revalidas not only culminate the institutions’ efforts per PGS stage, but also call on them to continue enhancing their governance practices.

The presenting organizations were:

  • ‘Amang’ Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center (ARMMC)
  • Baguio General Hospital & Medical Center (BagGHMC)
  • Bataan General Hospital & Medical Center (BatGHMC)
  • Bicol Medical Center (BMC)
  • Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC)
  • Caraga Regional Hospital (CRH)
  • Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research & Medical Center (Dr. PJGMRMC)
  • Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC)
  • Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP)
  • National Children’s Hospital (NatCH)
  • Navotas City Hospital (NCH)
  • Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC)
  • Region II Trauma & Medical Center (R2TMC)
  • San Lorenzo Ruiz Women’s Hospital (SLRWH)
  • Talavera General Hospital (TGH)
  • Talisay District Hospital (TDH)
  • Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC)
  • Bureau of Customs (BOC)
  • Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)
  • Philippine Air Force (PAF)
  • Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO)
  • Provincial Government of La Union (PGLU)
Mr. Guillermo Luz, Chief Resilience Officer of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, serves as Chair of one of the revalida panels

A day’s worth of governance stories

As soon as the forum opened, the revalidas were set in motion. Each organization has long prepared for their presentations after many months of working with ISA for strategy development and implementation.

Two partners, PAF and PVAO, sought to be conferred the highest stage of the PGS Pathway – Institutionalization. The hallmark of this stage is the presence of validated breakthrough results that have been sustained for at least two years. The institution must also exhibit strong commitment to adopt governance as a culture or a way of life. 

LTGEN ROZZANO D BRIGUEZ AFP, Commanding General of PAF, and Usec. Ernesto G. Carolina, Administrator of PVAO, graciously shared the stories behind their institutions’ journey towards better performance and sustained excellence. 

LTGEN BRIGUEZ underscored in his presentation how the PGS ensured that the strategic direction of PAF was placed above any commanding general’s tactical flexibility commonly used to build a personal legacy. Meanwhile, Usec. Carolina imparted a moving sentiment to the audience, saying, “[PVAO] wanted to send the message that we are a country that does not forget its defenders.”

Commanding General Briguez (left) and Usec. Carolina (right) deliver the transformation stories of PAF and PVAO respectively

After a day’s worth of governance stories, the attendees gathered for the closing ceremony late in the afternoon. ISA’s new Chief Executive Officer Mr. Lenard M. Berba opened the program, congratulating the revalida takers and calling on them to stay the course of good governance. This was followed by the awarding of newly inducted ISA Fellows and Associates. MGEN ADRIANO S PEREZ AFP, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Mr. Romulo S. Romero, CEO and Principal Consultant of OTi Philippines, Inc. were welcomed into the Society of Associates, while Usec. Carolina officially joined the Society of Fellows.

Shortly after, Ms. Mary Jane Ortega, ISA Trustee, kicked off the anticipated awarding portion. Revalida takers went from being on pins and needles to standing proud onstage as they received the signature PGS Heart. Many of them also went back to their institutions carrying a Trailblazer lantern. This lantern is given to the institutions recognized for their outstanding efforts in making governance a way of life. The Silver Trailblazers were: ARMMC, BagGHMC, CVMC, EVRMC, NatCH, NCH, NMMC, SLRWH, VSMMC, TDH, and PGLU, while the Gold Trailblazers were: BatGHMC, BMC, Dr. PJGMRMC, R2TMC, BOC, PAF, and PVAO.

From left to right: ISA CEO Mr. Lenard Berba, ISA Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jess P. Estanislao, and Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III congratulate Dr. Ricardo Ruñez, Medical Center Chief of Baguio General Hospital & Medical Center

Never a sprint

Having achieved the Institutionalized status, PAF and PVAO were then conferred as Islands of Good Governance (IGG). In his acceptance speech, LTGEN BRIGUEZ shared PAF’s long journey from once being the underdog lagging behind the Philippine Army and the Philippine Navy in the governance pathway, to finally becoming an Island of Good Governance. 

“The most important thing that we did was that we didn’t stop developing our men and our procedures,” remarked the Commanding General. 

Meanwhile, also reflecting on PVAO’s momentary delay in moving up the pathway, Usec. Carolina assured the crowd, saying, “We know that [the IGG award] is just the start of bigger responsibilities. From here on, after what we’ve learned, the only way to go is forward.” 

Department of Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III delivers the closing remarks at the Public Governance Forum

Capping off this sentimental day was a keynote address by Sec. Francisco T. Duque III, former ISA Chairman and current Secretary of Health. Sec. Duque congratulated the revalida takers for progressing in the PGS Pathway, reminding them that though the PGS is undertaken by many, there remains a uniqueness to it when applied in each organization.

“Just like a marathon, the PGS is never a sprint. You have to get the pacing. You have to have the grit to finish, to reach the finish line,” said the Health Secretary.