In May, voters all around the country headed to the polls with much hope and aspiration to practice their right to suffrage. While this presented a pivotal change in leadership and left Filipinos gearing up for a new government, it was business as usual at the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA). Believing that the election is only the beginning of a new governance journey, we at ISA continued to work with our fellow nation-builders and brought you the following programs:

Governance Boot Camp Master Class for Hospitals

Last May 17 to 20, ISA conducted the Governance Boot Camp Master Class for Hospitals (MCH), a four-day training program that tackles the highlights and challenges of PGS implementation in the health sector. This year, we welcomed twenty (20) participants from five (5) hospitals for a series of lectures and interactive case study workshops.

In creating a culture of good governance, establishing best practices alongside meeting governance standards is the key. This was the focus of the two modules featured on Day 1 as Philippine Heart Center Deputy Executive Director Dr. Gerardo Manzo carried out the first module on achieving quality healthcare through good governance. Meanwhile, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital’s (OLLH) Mr. Reginald Giron and Mr. Herald John Flores talked about effectively implementing patient safety standards in hospitals.


Achieving Quality Health Care Through Good Governance

Dr. Manzo began his talk with the role of healthcare practitioners in our Dream Philippines. He also touched on the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act and its impacts and challenges in making this a reality in the Philippines. However seemingly unachievable UHC may be, Dr. Manzo said they should continue to dream the impossible dream.

“It should not prevent us from working forward and in fulfilling mandates in the hospital, which is to take care of the patient,” Dr. Manzo said.

Transitioning to ISA’s Performance Governance System (PGS), Dr. Manzo shared that the Department of Health’s (DOH) early adoption of the framework had been critical for other hospitals to follow suit in the good governance movement. He presented scorecards of different hospitals to demonstrate the role of PGS in improving service delivery and standards. But as organizations understandably want to show the best results, he reminded participants that there was no shame in initially seeing unmet targets or gaps in their scorecards. What matters, instead, is how hospitals would deal with them moving forward.

“Make it a challenge,” Dr. Manzo said. “Learn from your mistakes. Just don’t deny them.”

To end his talk, Dr. Manzo encouraged everyone to learn to lead through crises and adopt a type of leadership that imbibes transparency, a sense of urgency, a strong grip on purpose and values, and the wisdom to let go of power when needed.

Applying the Patient Safety Standards in your Hospital

The second module was all about ensuring patient safety standards are in place. Mr. Giron briefly talked about the World Health Organization and introduced the Joint Commission International (JCI) Global Standards on Patient Safety, the latter being DOH’s basis for its own Patient Safety Goals.

Mr. Flores explained DOH’s policy on Patient Safety in health facilities, particularly the general and specific guidelines which facilities must comply with, and the roles and responsibilities of each department and bureau must assume in order to meet DOH’s standards. Mr. Giron ended the module with a quick rundown of how OLLH incorporated global and local patient safety standards into its systems.

Getting the Multi-Year Obligation Authority through Strategic Planning

Day 2 was all about investing in an organization’s strategic goals to secure the right resources for the right projects. In the Philippines, funding remains a challenge. Gaining government support is then crucial for hospitals to provide quality health services. To address this, Financial Inclusion Convenor Ms. Leah Reyes and Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) Medical Center Chief Dr. Mutya Macuno shared their knowledge of and experience with the Multi-Year Obligation Authority (MYOA).

Ms. Reyes introduced the MYOA as a way for hospitals to get sufficient funding, citing its benefits and the policies and provisions behind it. She also covered the techniques, templates, and important components that would help maximize the MYOA and achieve project feasibility and sustainability. After reiterating the contribution of a sound financial analysis to successful project planning and implementation, the participants applied the learnings through a case study workshop on seeking funding support.

Dr. Macuno, meanwhile, shared GCGMH’s experience with their successful MYOA application. After a 2013 earthquake and a persistent overcrowding issue, the hospital decided to expand its facilities to accommodate more patients and improve its service quality. GCGMH worked closely with its local government, DOH, and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to prepare and meet the requirements for their MYOA funding request.

In 2014, GCGMH received funding worth P2.2 billion, which was allotted to their modernization plan designed to address issues like overcrowding and insufficient infrastructure. Plan implementation began in 2019, with Phase 1 construction officially starting in 2021. 

Through their MYOA experience, GCGMH achieved many milestones, including new specialty centers, upgraded facilities, stronger relationships with relevant government institutions, a new referral system done in collaboration with other local hospitals, and a hospital culture of compassion and kindness.

Dr. Macuno recognized how relationship building was instrumental to the pursuit of their goals since, without government support, they would not have been able to overcome their challenges and streamline the overall project process for their stakeholders.

Setting the Hospital Research Agenda

The third day of the workshop underscored the importance of finding a balance between ambition and reality when doing clinical and community-based research. This touched on properly aligning a hospital’s research agenda priorities with its strategic direction, the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) for 2017 to 2022, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Speakers for this module were Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) Medical Officer IV Dr. Timothy Dizon and PHC Office of Strategy Management Officer-in-Charge Dr. Juliet Balderas.

Dr. Dizon started off with a look into Health Research in the Philippines and NUHRA and the need to level up the country’s research efforts. This led to his discussion on crafting one’s own research agenda, its important elements, and the roles people must assume in the research process. Participants later broke into their groups and practiced setting up a research agenda based on a case with predetermined challenges.

After the group presentations, Dr. Balderas shared how PHC incorporates research into its overall operations and strategy maps, making it a mainstay as one of its core processes. She showed some of PHC’s scorecards and highlighted the use of research working groups and schedules in crafting their research agenda. To end her talk, she explained the role of research in policy building and how recognizing its importance led to improving PHC’s research framework aligned with NUHRA and setting up a center with programs that cater to heart research and development.

Developing a Functional Health Care Provider Network

The final module for the workshop focused on establishing a functional Health Care Provider Network (HCPN) compliant with DOH standards. For Day 4, DOH’s Bureau of Local Health Systems Development Division Chief Dr. Lester Tan explained how DOH figures in the HCPN of public hospitals. Batangas Medical Center (BatMC) Chief Dr. Ramoncito Magnaye then walked the participants through BatMC’s own HCPN setup process. Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) Chief Dr. Glory Baltazar, meanwhile, shared how creating a robust online referral system helped them address organizational issues they had prior to adopting the PGS.

Dr. Tan introduced HCPN as a mechanism to ensure access to the catchment population at all levels, address gaps in the health system, provide cooperation among LGUs to address different issues, and form linkages between public and private networks. He explained the different models, composition, and policies that inspired the HCPN.

Dr. Magnaye shared how BatMC set up its own HCPN. After noticing several gaps in their services, BatMC addressed them through their Service Delivery Network (SDN). The hospital created a referral mechanism, inclusive of guidelines, service provider agreements, and monitoring and evaluation tools. This mechanism later helped improve their services and gain new wins.

Dr. Magnaye said their achievements all boiled down to a clear referral mechanism, strong inter-department linkage, set guidelines and processes, frequent alignment and practice-sharing sessions, a formal feedback mechanism, and culture of preparation and resilience.

As the last speaker for the module, Dr. Baltazar recounted the state of BGHMC before the PGS. Faced with a negative public image, poor gatekeeping, and a non-functional SDN, BGHMC set up an online referral system and developed an evaluation tool to innovate its processes. They also changed their strategic positioning to effectively work towards their goals.

BGHMC saw many breakthroughs because of its online referral system, and its success resulted in its adoption in other provinces. It also came in handy during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the doctors’ access to their patient records.

At the end of every Governance Boot Camp, one participant is named the Ultimate Governance Warrior for their contribution to the discussions. Region II Trauma and Medical Center Office for Strategy Management Head Dr. Tagumpay Maniquis earned the title for this year’s run and had the opportunity to address his co-participants. After thanking everyone, he encouraged his fellow healthcare practitioners to continue fighting for quality healthcare in the Philippines.

“We all want healthcare to be safe, effective, and patient-centered… Despite the difficulties we may face, let’s soldier on. The fight [is] worth it. Not only for our patients but also for our community.”

Skills Lab on Agile Ways of Working

The past few years have thrown traditional business models out the window. To remain competitive and relevant, organizations must become flexible enough to deal with volatile environments while maximizing productivity and making better decisions. This was the premise behind ISA’s first-ever Skills Lab on Agile Ways of Working.

From May 26 to 27, Alaska Milk Corporation’s Country People and Culture Director Edalyn D. Hadjula-Legarde imparted her knowledge on Agile Ways of Working to help organizations become future-ready. As she stated at the beginning of the course, people live in a V.U.C.A. world, or one that’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. This environment presents a challenge in finding the sweet spot between providing value for the customers, business, and employees.


For two days, fifteen (15) participants from seven (7) organizations learned about Agile Ways of Working through concepts like the Appreciative Inquiry, a method wherein organizations identify strengths they can leverage and focus on the people rather than the available technologies. Mindset was also crucial as it provides a strong foundation for learning. Ms. Hadjula-Legarde explained the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, and introduced the fast forward (FFWD) framework for transforming customers’ problems into business solutions.

Ms. Hadjula-Legarde then discussed the 3 E’s (Empathize, Explore, and Execute) and their tools to guide organizations’ shift to a customer-centric approach. Empathizing involves an effort to look through the eyes of others. This also echoes her earlier point to find the sweet spot to meet customer needs. She reminded everyone that employees were also customers, for their journey in the organization is just as important.

The second E, Explore, was about moving from a traditional work approach to a FFWD one. This would involve breaking down instructions and processes into smaller, manageable ways, and was all about discovering new ways of doing things, determining which ones were viable for the organization, and assessing the strength of evidence along the way.

In the Execution phase, Agile Ways of Working was a matter of continuous improvement wherein the goal is to achieve FFWD Everyday. This means having a FFWD approach used throughout the organization, not just in select teams. This not only involves a change in structure but also in mindset.

In between lectures, participants were grouped and applied the concepts and approaches of Agile Ways of Working through workshops. They pinpointed actual challenges in their respective organizations and brainstormed possible solutions. To fully assume a customer-centric approach, they conducted a customer mapping exercise and crafted a customer persona. From there, they developed a project canvas to address their identified challenge and customer.

To end the Skills Lab, Ms. Hadjula-Legarde reminded the participants that change would always start with us and that growth is all about looking at our available opportunities and acting on them as they come.

“It’s all about the agile mindset and how we move forward really depends on us… If you don’t transform now, we’re gonna lose the opportunity.”

Raring to join our next event? We have exciting things lined up for you this June! Check them out below and stay tuned for more announcements:

June 13 | PGS Initiation: Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital
Register here: https://bit.ly/2022JuneOnlineRevalida

June 15 | #ISAngKilosBayan Sa Bagong Pamunuan: Ang Katungkulan ng Bawat Pilipino
Register here: https://bit.ly/IASPostElections

June 16-17 | Skills Lab on Strategic External Communication
Register here: https://bit.ly/2022SEC

June 22 | PGS Institutionalization: Department of Health
Register here: https://bit.ly/2022JuneOnlineRevalida

June 23-24 | Skills Lab on Project Management
Register here: https://bit.ly/June2022ProjectManagement

June 27 | PGS Compliance: Batangas Medical Center
Register here: https://bit.ly/2022JuneOnlineRevalida

​​For inquiries, you can email Kristine Roraldo at kroraldo@isacenter.org.