MANILA, Philippines – Completing the final stage of a governance reform program may be the summit of success in public service for some, but for the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Heart Center (PHC), and Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), it only marks the beginning of taking deep roots and making a lasting impact to the nation.

The three public institutions shared their transformation stories following their Institutionalization through the four-stage Performance Governance System (PGS) pathway in the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s (ISA) first-ever media roundtable discussion last August 23, 2022.

The PGS is a holistic and collaborative framework for designing and executing roadmaps to long-term reform. Used by over 100 national government agencies and local government units in the country, the PGS has four stages: Initiation, Compliance, Proficiency, and Institutionalization. 

PVAO’s long-term strategy plan, Kagitingan Roadmap 2028, aspires to ensure veterans’ welfare, transform them into capable citizens, and create venues for people to celebrate history. During PVAO’s PGS journey, PVAO Claims Division Chief Raquel Cajuguiran revealed the institution’s breakthroughs, including the enactment of Republic Act 11164, which increased the benefits of senior veterans by 300%, and improved access to healthcare, among others.

Institutionalized in 2019, PVAO is currently mobilizing the second phase of its roadmap, with the Kagitingan Builders Program as its key project. The program, which aims to reintroduce “kagitingan” into the country’s values system, shall help improve benefits and recognition for veterans through the enhancement of military shrines in tourism economic zones. 

“Patuloy ang pag-improve namin sa military shrines dahil ino-offer natin ito hindi lamang sa mga beterano natin at sa pamilya nila, but more so sa mga kabataan natin, sa ating citizenry, kung ano ang storya nitong military shrines,” Ms. Cajuguiran said. 

The DOH adopted the PGS framework in 2009 to level up how they deliver their mandate and address major challenges in health. Just three years shy of their Institutionalization, the Universal Health Care Act was passed into law in 2019, prompting DOH to assist UHC Integration Sites amid the pandemic in 2020. The project saw an increase from 14 UHC sites in 2021 to 58 as of July 2022. 

“Our work with LGUs and other COVI9-related activities have led to the improved ranking of the Philippines in the Nikkei Asia COVID-19 Recovery Index Ranking, from last place among 121 countries last September 2021 to 33rd place in May 2022,” DOH Assistant Secretary Dr. Kenneth G. Ronquillo, MPHM, CESO III said.

Recognized as the primary cardiac referral center in the country, the PHC embarked on its PGS journey in 2010 to provide safer, better, and more efficient healthcare to its patients. 

As part of its Institutionalization, PHC conducted Governance Bootcamps to introduce PGS as a strategy for producing breakthrough results in healthcare. As of 2018, PHC has successfully onboarded 58 hospitals in the PGS framework. 

Now recognized as an apex hospital for the cardiovascular network, PHC aims to provide training in human resource and technical capability-building in areas of clinical services within the Health Care Provider Network in NCR. 

To ensure there are enough specialized doctors in the country, PHC conducts extensive training programs for specialists all over the country.

“Meron po kaming tinatawag na ‘Lateral Entry’ wherein the region brings their doctors to the Philippine Heart Center for training. At the same time, there’s infrastructure being done here so that once they’re accredited in two years, we will be ready to start the program,” said PHC OIC for Strategy Management Dr. Juliet Balderas. 

Moderated by ISA associate and veteran journalist Ms. Sonia P. Soto, the media roundtable discussion was attended by representatives from reputable news outlets, including News5, ABS-CBN News, Radyo Pilipinas, and Central Luzon Television.