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August Governance Review: Building a national legacy, one program at a time

Every month of August, the country observes national events sparking patriotism and solidarity among its people. Last month, we celebrated National Heroes’ Day to honor all the heroes of the revolution and promoted the propagation and preservation of the Filipino language through the annual observance of Buwan ng Wika. But for the Institute of Solidarity in Asia (ISA) and our partners, every day is a renewed opportunity to build a national legacy towards making a united and progressive nation. 

Hence, ISA delivered three insightful events to our partners last August. Kindle the spirit of patriotism with our August Governance Review!

26th Governance Boot Camp – Basic Class

ISA held the 26th run of the partner- favorite, Governance Boot Camp Online – Basic Class, from August 15 to 19. This five-day training program hosted 70 delegates from fifteen organizations from various sectors, including public health, local government units, and national government agencies. The Boot Camp consisted of modules that enriched their knowledge and understanding of the fundamental concepts of the Performance Governance System (PGS).

The program started with a lecture from ISA Trustee Atty. Alex Lacson. His lecture tackled topics such as the country’s current situation, the major causes of poverty, and ways to build a better Philippines. Atty. Alex also reminded the delegates that even ordinary citizens can also make a difference: “Saan ka man sa ating bansa, bata ka man o matanda, every Filipino is part of the answer.”

On the second day of the program, ISA Executive Director and PGS Practice Leader Mr. Chris Zaens discussed the module on Strategy Fundamentals. Mr. Zaens emphasized the importance of the evolution of strategies, where one must create a difference for the future and do beyond better to have a systemic change that will enable public entities to make an impact demonstrably higher than what one is currently delivering. The value of adjusting and customizing the system according to what the organization needs was also highlighted. 

“‘Yung PGS, hindi siya straight jacket na i-kinakahon tayo. In the past 13 years, nakita namin na for the PGS to work, there has to be customization of the system dahil iba iba ang realidad ng bawat organization,” he said.

The third session underscored the Disciplined Execution module, where the delegates learned how to translate the good intentions embedded in their plans into tangible and substantial results that would benefit the organization and its constituents. To assess the strategic quality of an organization, Mr. Zaens said that one must conduct a sniff test, which includes looking at your strategic choices and checking if it is merely a “non-stupid” choice or an actual strategy. 

“The choices are embodied in the core and support objectives. Once you have the position, if it’s a genuine position, it will impact your core process,” the PGS Practice Leader said. 

This was then followed by a lecture about the processes enabling small successes, which are the bellwethers or gateways to breakthrough results. According to Mr. Zaens, “When we embark on a PGS journey, the expectation is to see results early, as soon as you are able to cascade. Early wins are important.” Mr. Zaens capped off the session with a workshop on conundrum case studies, where the delegates were tasked to explain how specific problems can occur during implementation.

The last day of the Boot Camp concluded with a series of presentations by notable PGS Movers, namely Dr. Kenneth Ronquillo, Assistant Secretary of Health Policy and Infrastructure Development Team of the Department of Health (DOH), Mr. Lindsley Jeremiah Villarante, the Chief Health Program Officer of the Performance Monitoring and Strategy Management Division of DOH, Dr. Maria Lourdes Evangelista of Mariveles Mental Wellness and General Hospital, and VAdm. Rommel Reyes of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who shared their experiences and breakthroughs in the PGS pathway. 

Hailed as the 26th Ultimate Governance Warrior, Ms. Jocelyn Tendenilla of the Department of Information and Communications Technology thanked ISA and her group, Team Narra Arangkada, for the recognition and hoped to put her learnings from the Boot Camp into practice. 

“Thank you again to everyone. Salamat po especially to the DICT team. We have a lot of work to do in our department. I have learned a lot, but I hope that these learnings do not go to waste.”

#ISAngKilosBayan: Business As Usual: Ang kahalagahan ng MSMEs sa ating bansa

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of the Philippine economy, constituting 99.51% of registered enterprises in the country. MSMEs are among the worst hit by the current health crisis, causing worker displacement and loss of livelihood. As the economy continues to recover, the new administration poses new challenges to the country’s economic growth.

In partnership with its media partners and MovePH, ISA conducted its first roundtable webinar last August 31, 2022. In this special episode, ISA convened local business owners to share how they braved through the crisis and their innovative and best practices in running a business. 

The invited entrepreneurs were Ms. Patricia Juridico, owner of JUVA Bars; Mr. Carl Abram Alcedo, owner of Carl’s Earthen Pots and Ceramics; Ms. Johj Munsayac of Tea and You Cafe; Mr. Henry Litrero, a Farm to Market Entrepreneur from Cavite; Ms. Allyza Jane Cepeda of Jane Dough Desserts; and Mr. Tom Christian Lomas-e, President of Emma’s Special Foods Manufacturing. This roundtable discussion was moderated by Mr. Ryan Evangelista, the Philippine Country Director of the Center for International Private Enterprise and ISA Associate.

Translating something you are passionate about into a source of income is no easy task, let alone jump-starting a business with a unique selling point to penetrate the market. Ms. Juridico’s business concept is to minimize plastic waste and make the most out of products by offering plant-based shampoo and conditioner bars. JUVA Bars’ products reduce the need for wasteful packaging, turning this basic commodity from a big culprit behind plastic waste into innovative and eco-friendly hair care products. 

The pandemic has also aggravated the increasing unemployment rate in the country, with hundreds and thousands of employees forced to leave their jobs due to business closure. In light of this issue, Ms. Munsayac made it her “main goal to provide manpower during the pandemic.” In May 2021, she used this as an opportunity to turn her love for drinking coffee into a business that would provide more job opportunities. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Alcedo said that as a young entrepreneur, his pottery-making-hobby-turned-ceramics-business hadn’t been a walk in the park either. “May times na sobrang hina talaga ng benta dahil hindi siya [pottery and ceramics] basic necessities. ‘Yung mga items ko po, I can classify them as ‘wants’. Big challenge is transportation kasi almost nag-double ang aking costing compared to nung hindi pa nagpa-pandemic.”

Faced with the same volatile demand and pricing during the pandemic, Mr. Litrero had to innovate and find ways to reduce the costs of his business.

“[Lumipat ako] sa organic. Namili ako ng chicken manure. Kinukuha lang siya sa mga poultry. Mahal lang ang transportation. Hindi man totally organic [pero] it’s natural.”

Standing out in the highly-saturated online market and building your own identity are a few of the biggest challenges in an online business. “Everybody went in on the [online selling] opportunity, until such time everybody is doing the same [thing], so it’s hard na mag-stand out,” Ms. Cepeda recalled. “It is hard to stand out when you are on social media because over time people get used to the marketing strategy of posting pictures and then stating that it is for sale.”

Despite the overly-competitive marketplace, Ms. Cepeda said storytelling played a huge role in establishing her online presence and overall marketing strategy. 

“Storytelling helped me with my market strategy talaga. And with storytelling, that’s how I got discovered by featured media.”

For Mr. Lomas-e, another strategy other entrepreneurs can consider is differentiating your products from the market. “Here sa market namin sa Baguio, pababaan ng presyo. Ang hirap mag uphold ng quality pag ganun, and of course yung mga workers. But we put it in a point na hindi kami magco-compromise sa quality and hindi kami magco-compromise sa tao.”

During the round table discussion, the business owners expressed what type of support, whether it be policy or programs, they would like to see from the government to support MSMEs. For Ms. Munsayac, intensified ease of doing business should be a priority, especially for starting business owners. 

“Sana mapadali ang ating pag ayos ng mga permit para sa mga katulad naming micro small business enterprise. Sana mabigyan tayo ng pansin ng mga ating local government na mas mapadali at wag tayo pahirapan dahil tayo ay tumutulong sa ating ekonomiya,” she said.

In addition, Ms. Litrero suggested that the government can help market local brands and produce to create fair competition between local and imported products. 

Seeking the help and cooperation of other entities such as government agencies, private institutions, and other MSMEs is also one of the best practices brought up by the panelists.

“It is not about competition anymore. I want in the future, ‘yung mga MSMEs sa Philippines will be a very huge knit community, na all of us are working together. I believe that those who give more, are those who win talaga. ‘Wag tayong madamot,” said Ms. Cepeda.

With this, Mr. Lomas-e also suggested seeking assistance from government agencies like the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Trade and Industry. “Government help is always there, so nasa initiation lang talaga ng tao iyon. Sa mga nakikinig na MSMEs, let us take advantage of that. There is always help,” he said. 

After discussing these salient points, Mr. Lomas-e left an inspiring message for the viewers, both business owners, and ordinary Filipino citizens. 

“One of the ways we can show our love for our country is to help the economy. As we pay our taxes, and as we pay our share in taxes, as we pay our share in moving the economy, mai-papakita talaga natin ang pagmamahal natin. Being an entrepreneur is also part of being a lover for our country.”

Filipino MSMEs remain resilient and unyielding even when faced with uncertainty and unforeseeable events like the pandemic. Moreover, starting an enterprise can be an overwhelming yet fulfilling experience. “It’s an intimate learning for yourself and the business”, Ms. Juridico said.

Skills Lab on Revalida Storytelling and Visualization

ISA offers its partners the online revalida, a virtual platform where public organizations can present their progress and transformation journey in the Performance Governance System (PGS) pathway. To help our partners prepare for their forthcoming, highly-anticipated revalida, ISA conducted the second run of our Skills Lab on Revalida Storytelling and Visualization this year entitled, “Sparkling Change Through Storytelling” Mr. Agustin Miguel Juanengo, a partner at Fennel Strategic Communications & Media Co., led the two-day workshop attended by 35 delegates from eight organizations last August 11 to 12.

Mr. Juanengo discussed the basic components of storytelling elements, followed by a deep dive into the three concepts of storytelling: written narrative, visual presentation, and oral delivery. During the discussion, Mr. Juanengo stressed that in delivering their PGS stories, presenting organizations should go personal to immerse the audience and further bring their characters to life. 

“Tell your own experience through your own eyes because it paints a better picture for your audience. Try to think of a specific situation and use your five senses to observe, and start painting a picture with words, especially if you don’t have actual visual materials to use describe the different facial emotions that they have,” Mr. Juanengo said.

In addition, he said that on top of all the progress reports and data shared in the presentation, having a clear takeaway would help the audience recall the organization’s learnings. 

“Data can be boring. That is why you tell a story together with the numbers. Find a way to present data by using an interesting context,” Mr. Juanengo added. 

The speaker wrapped up the discussion by encouraging the participants to keep rehearsing, adding that solely “practice, practice, and practice” would make a presenter compelling in conveying stories and emotions.

To give the delegates a clearer understanding of effective revalida storytelling, Dr. Rene Francisco, Chairperson of the Office of Strategy Management of Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center, left the delegates with storytelling techniques from their transformation journey. 

“Great storytelling is 90% preparation and 10% presentation. Ang ating pagkukwento ay magiging epektibo lamang kung ang ating mensahe ay may kwento,” Dr. Francisco advised. 

Delegates were then tasked to apply their learnings through the workshop on the second and final day of the workshop. To conclude the sessions, the speaker encouraged the delegates to explore fitting storytelling techniques and make their presentation their own. 

“You may get creative using different storytelling techniques, so you may end up with a great story and a much more interesting presentation,” Mr. Juanengo said.


Missed these events? ISA has got your back and we have more in store for you! Check out our upcoming events below and stay tuned for more announcements:

October 11 | Public Governance Forum (Online Revalida): East Avenue Medical Center (Compliance)

Register here:

October 18 | Master Class for National Government Agencies

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October 21 | Public Governance Forum (Online Revalida): Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital & Medical Center (Proficiency)

Register here:

October 24 | Public Governance Forum (Online Revalida): Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (Initiation)

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October 25 | Public Governance Forum (Online Revalida): Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (Proficiency)

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October 27 | Skills Lab on Complete Staff Work

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