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Public Governance Forum spotlights public sector transformations; Children’s Hospital and more bag Gold Trailblazer Award

In a remarkable showcase of public sector innovation and dedication, the Public Governance Forum (PGF) illuminated stories of transformation on November 17, 2023, highlighting outstanding efforts by various Philippine public institutions. 

Led by non-profit governance reform organization Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA), the PGF is a recognition program where public institutions showcase their progress and milestones along the Performance Governance System (PGS), ISA’s good governance program, giving insight into the growth of the public sector in providing quality service to the Filipino people.

Gathering nearly 300 attendees, the event featured nine public institutions, mainly from the health sector, presenting their impact reports before a carefully selected multi-sector panel during the Public Revalida, a democratic exercise that validates the successful completion of the four stages of the PGS. Public organizations, including the Department of Health, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Department of Trade and Industry, have actively engaged with and successfully completed the pathway.

The presenting organizations were the following: 

  • Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center (ASTMMC) 
  • Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center (ARMMC) 
  • Bicol Medical Center (BMC) 
  • Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) 
  • Conner District Hospital (CDH) 
  • Don Emilio Del Valle Memorial Hospital (DEDVMH) 
  • Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) 
  • Social Security System (SSS) 
  • Talavera General Hospital (TGH)

Both BGHMC and PCMC were set to be conferred the fourth and final stage of the PGS Pathway: Institutionalization. The hallmark of the Institutionalization stage is the presence of at least one breakthrough result through the alignment of efforts toward better performance and real, lasting transformation. At this stage, a strong governance culture is evident and the organization is equally a strong advocate of good governance. 

During the event, BGHMC Chief Dr. Glory V. Baltazar candidly laid bare the challenges faced by the hospital in her presentation. 

“We were infamous for being a katayan. Employees were notoriously rude and incompetent. Some would engage in corrupt practices such as doctors asking for under-the-table fees. These corrupt practices with an organizational culture of tolerance due to lack of malasakit has crippled our hospital system,” Dr. Baltazar shared in her presentation. “[Ensuring] that every KaBataan should have access to an affordable quality health benefit is essentially what universal health care workers does, and this is our vision.”

BGHRMC’s 1400-strong workforce underwent a transformative journey, recognizing past shortcomings and committing to progress. Attaining ISO certification improved hospital operations, but it was the Performance Governance System (PGS) that fueled their drive to excel. Efficient fund management and participative management emerged, showcasing commitment and accountability among employees. Achieving prime HR Level 2 and optimizing personnel placement, despite their relative inexperience, also marked significant milestones. 

Meanwhile, PCMC Executive Director Dr. Sonia B. Gonzalez delved into the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the care of their young patients. 

“Over the years, we have been seeing thousands of sick children but with seemingly futile efforts on improving child health and reducing child mortality. Guided by its vision, mission, and core values, the PCMC attains its impact in improving health outcomes for children and high-risk pregnant women through the following.”

Since then, PCMC has steadfastly worked towards impactful action, achieving an impressive five-year survival rate of nearly 70% among its pediatric patients, surpassing the WHO standard of 60% for countries like the Philippines. The hospital has experienced a notable 22% increase in leukemia referrals, introduced four new accredited pediatric fellowship programs, and extended the reach of structured teaching programs to benefit health workers across different regions.

Following the presentations, new governance advocates were conferred as new ISA Associates and Fellows. Among the Associates were Dr. Rene Francisco from the Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research & Medical Center, Dr. Maria Eva Jopson from the PCMC, and Mr. Romeo Tuazon Jr. from the BGHMC. Additionally, for Fellows, the newly conferred members included Atty. Rowel Barba from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, Dr. Monserrat Chichoco from the Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital, Gen. Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, former Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, Dr. Gonzalez from the PCMC, and Dr. Maria Lourdes K. Otayza from the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center.

Shortly after, each presenting organization’s accomplishments were assessed with the prestigious Trailblazer Awards. Earning Silver Trailblazer recognition were ASTMMC, CDH, DEDVMH, and TGH, while the Gold Trailblazers were bestowed upon ARMMC, BGHMC, BMC, PCMC, and SSS. 

In her acceptance speech, Dr. Baltazar reflected on the transformative journey undertaken by their institution, expressing a hope that the path they developed and the accomplishments attained would serve as inspiration for fellow public servants. 

“We have been weighed. We have been measured. [But] we have been Institutionalized,” Dr. Baltazar said in her speech. “May the path that we took and the gains that we achieved inspire more public servants that through this journey, more lives were served, resources were efficiently managed, and healthcare workers become better healthcare providers.” 

Meanwhile, Dr. Gonzalez emphasized a profound lesson of collective responsibility each member holds in their daily interactions. 

“The best lesson learned from the PGS journey: we are all responsible for the way we act towards others,” Dr. Gonzalez revealed in her speech. “We acknowledge that God owns everything in our lives. We do not own PCMC, but we are the appointed stewards, responsible for its success through good governance.”

Concluding the day, ISA Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao delivered a keynote speech underscoring the vital role of engaging multi-sector governance coalitions to realize the vision of a Dream Philippines.

“As we’re doing here, going institution by institution and strengthening, and getting every institution to reach out to their respective communities, to their local government units, and who knows, by 2046, we’ll be a country that most Filipinos can be proud of,” Dr. Estanislao said. “[W]e have the institutions that are going through the PGS, and you are becoming the building blocks for Dream Philippines.”