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July Governance Review: ISA and partners brave through a “critical period of change”

The month of July signifies the “beginning of the end,” as it officially marks the onset of the last half of 2022. Similarly, for the country’s newly elected and appointed officials, last month was the start of a new page of governance as they transition into their roles in public service. As our new public servants continue to explore and habituate, we at the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) continue to handhold our partners as they go through this critical period of change. And in case you missed all the action, here’s a roundup of our final events and programs for the month of July.

Skills Lab on the Harmonization of the PGS with ISO

In response to high demand, the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) conducted its Skills Lab course on the Harmonization of the PGS with the ISO, now on its second run this year. 

Held last July 14 to 15, 2022, the Skills Lab on Harmonization of the PGS with ISO was facilitated by quality and operations management expert Ms. Darlene Page-Elnar. This online Skills Lab course, which aims to give the participants an overview of ISO 9001:2015, its requirements, and how it can be integrated with the Performance Governance System (PGS), was attended by a total of 36 delegates from various hospitals across the country.

During the first day of the two-day course, Ms. Page-Elnar helped the delegates come to grips with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), starting with its history, followed by an in-depth overview of the ISO 9001:2015, the PGS framework, and the Harmonization of the Standards. 

Following the quick refresher, Ms. Page-Elnar discussed the PGS and ISO Integration Matrix she had developed to serve as a guide toward seamless harmonization. The matrix shows the nine PGS elements alongside their pertinent ISO clauses, giving the delegates a clearer view of how they can integrate both requirements.

Integrating the PGS with existing organizational frameworks can throw anyone out of joint. To help keep practitioners on the right track, Ms. Page-Elnar introduced the five elements of Objective and Key Results (OKRs), which suggest making goals clear, inspiring, and public and reminding practitioners to measure their progress.

To cap off the first day, Ms. Page-Elnar addressed questions from the delegates concerning the certification of core processes and identifying suitable ISO certifications, among others. 

During the last day of the two-day course, the delegates engaged in a workshop led by Ms. Page-Elnar on harmonizing the PGS and ISO Standards using OKRs Scorecard. Each organization was tasked to develop a unit scorecard that reflected the strategic objective, KRAs, targets, source of data, frequency of review, and initiatives. After each presentation, Ms. Page-Elnar provided insightful feedback on the output of each organization and shared helpful advice as the participants move forward in the integration into their respective institutions.  

The workshop concluded shortly after Ms. Page-Elnar addressed questions during a short open forum. With more partners eager to improve their processes through integrating ISO with the PGS, this Skills Lab course continues to stand the test of time and prove its significance in meeting quality standards for every institution

#ISAngKilosBayan: PGS Transformation Stories: Ka-ISA sa Kaunlaran

Working for the public sector can be a rewarding yet grueling experience. Breaking the mold and delivering the best service to the public is never easy, especially when it demands creating lasting reform. 

In this webinar, the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA), in partnership with and MovePH, gathered notable ISA partners to showcase their transformation journey towards better public service through the Performance Governance System (PGS), ISA’s reform program where partners from the public sector design and execute roadmaps for long-term transformation.

Sharing their experiences towards reaching the next stages of the PGS, this webinar featured Dr. Cesar Guico, Head of the Office for Strategy Management at Region I Medical Center (R1MC), which was conferred the PGS Proficient status last year, and; VADM ROMMEL REYES PN, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which completed their PGS journey in 2016 and was awarded Island of Good Governance in 2015.

Other speakers featured Dr. Michelle Aguilar-Ong, President of the Mabalacat City College, who is vying for the PGS Initiation Status; Dr. Tata Ligutom, a Governance and Lifelong Learning Advocate, and; Ms. Dianna Azores, an entrepreneur, and owner of Delicioso Homemade Ham. This webinar was moderated by Mr. Ken Abante, Managing Director for Practice and Partnerships at WeSolve Foundation Inc.

The PGS transformation journey

Initiating change in the system is often an uphill climb for any organization, regardless of size and period of operation. For VAdm Reyes, this system transformation had to be introduced to over 150,000 employees working on multi-various services of the AFP. 

“To sustain any program is a challenge. Dito ngayon papasok itong PGS system natin,” he said. “The PGS doesn’t exist on its own. All our other systems, naka-align dito. That’s why ‘yun ang naging magandang epekto [nito].”

After achieving the PGS Institutionalized status in 2016, AFP did not stop its transformation journey and continued to cascade the PGS system within the organization. Through the AFP Transformation Roadmap Institutionalization Pathway or AFPTRIP, VAdm Reyes said that 64 units and offices within AFP underwent the PGS pathway, allowing them to openly embrace the framework. 

Looking at the hospital setting, Dr. Guico shared that even with their ISO certifications and standing as a level 3 tertiary hospital, R1MC faced the challenge of overcrowding, increased risk of hospital mortality, and employee burnout.

“The challenges identified were insufficiency of funds for the different infrastructure projects, as well as the procurement of medical equipment and medicinal supplies, [which] greatly affected R1MC in showing employees and clients our capability to implement and sustain our plans,” he said.

In addressing the said challenges, Dr. Guico expressed his appreciation for the various councils mandated by the PGS. Through the PGS Core Team and Office for Strategy Management (OSM), they were able to communicate changes effectively to their employees.

Moreover, through the Multi-Sector Governance Council (MSGC), a council composed of key representatives from the organization’s pool of external stakeholders, the hospital was able to involve its external clients in the attainment of their goals.

Reflecting on the transformation journey of AFP and R1MC, the reactors for this webinar voiced their admiration for the effect of PGS in effectively transforming systems both in national government agencies and hospitals.

“I [thought] only [the] local government can [come-up with the MSGC] so nagulat ako nung nabanggit ni Dr. Cesar ito. Pwede rin pala akong gumawa ng MSGC na tulad ng [R1MC] and the AFP… so that it can help the [Mabalacat City] college,” Dr. Ong said.

As a business owner and marketing communications consultant, Ms. Azores commented on the similarities in effective systems of the business sector with that of the PGS.

“Meron rin palang balance sheet and scorecard for good governance as well as for medical institutions. Applicable pala ‘yung mga ganung sistema even sa malalaking government outfits, as well as sa microentrepreneurs like me,” she shared.

For Dr. Ligutom, what struck him was the existing leadership system within AFP, where appreciation is expressed even to their predecessors that started on this transformation journey.

“[The] realization here is about leadership. A leadership system and the leader itself who gives justice as well as regard to the successes has been started by the predecessors as well as justice to the other people, especially ‘yung mga nasa baba,” he said.

Initiating reform within the organization

As they begin their PGS transformation journey, Dr. Ong urged the viewers of the webinar to have the courage to initiate the change within their own organizations and not be afraid to stand out.

“Continue making unpopular decisions because if you won’t change anything, then nothing will change. If your interest is for the country then I think you have to take that decision and be determined to stay on that path,” she suggested.

Setting individual goals and translating these to institutional goals was one of the pieces of advice that Ms. Azores also left for this webinar.

“Change will upset you [and] it will not take [place] overnight but if you have the determination and the values as a person, you will definitely succeed your personal and institutional goal[s]. It is really up to the person who has goal[s] in life to transform the organization and himself as well,” Ms. Azores said.

Calling on the need for collective action, Dr. Ligutom expressed that we must hold ourselves accountable for our actions as much as we should hold public institutions accountable for their work. 

“How do we help as citizens? It starts with me and putting myself accountable. I would also hold these institutions accountable, but in a way that I respect the administration and the people running it,” he said.

Having worked through the engagement of their internal and external stakeholders, Dr. Guico left an insightful reminder for the viewers: “Dream big. Aim high. Stay focused. Overcome distraction and achieve. And finally, celebrate your success.”


The “-Ber” months are officially upon us! Don’t miss the events and programs we have in store for you this September! Check them out below, and stay tuned for more announcements:

September 8 | Skills Lab on Change Management
Register here:

September 9 | #ISAngKilosBayan: Ka-ISA sa Kaunlaran: PGS Transformation Stories
Register here:

September 13 | Public Governance Forum (Online Revalida): Davao Region Medical Center (Proficiency)
Register here:

September 14 | Skills Lab on Project Management
Register here:

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