Various public institutions wrapped up the year by undergoing their public revalida as part of the requirements in moving up the stages of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s (ISA) Performance Governance System. Designed to showcase and examine different transformative governance initiatives across the country, the revalida requires heads of institutions to deliver their impact reports in line with their identified strategic goals. 

Three public hospitals and two national government agencies recounted how they turned things around and adapted changes to their strategic development plans, prompted by the COVID-19 situation. These institutions were: Jose B. Lingad Memorial and General Hospital (JBLMGH), Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC), Dr. Jose Rizal Memorial Hospital (DJRMH), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

As the agency mandated to facilitate peace talks and negotiations related to internal conflict and rebellion in the Philippines, OPAPP had to adjust its peace building programs as quarantine restrictions affected their peace engagements and as members of the organization took on various roles in the National Action Plan (NAP) against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the roster of hospitals recalled how they refreshed their initial strategies to respond to the emerging demands for the health sector. Pampanga-based JBLMGH originally sought to establish six specialty centers, but decided to focus on only three to include Infectious Diseases. The hospital was also commended for being able to secure the necessary technical, financial, and physical infrastructure to support the establishment of the facilities for specialized health services.

On the other hand, R1MC, located in Dagupan City, Pangasinan, was able to stay the course of developing 10 specialty centers, but had to adjust their timeline for completion to 2024, to accommodate the parallel implementation of their Pandemic Response Plan. 

Likewise, DJRMH was recognized for their agile and steadfast pandemic response as they were able to convert their spaces to cater to COVID-19 patients. This move transpired while other public hospitals in Zamboanga del Norte were forced to temporarily close down wards in October, limiting the available health facilities in their area.

On a wider scale, these initiatives serve as foundations for Universal Healthcare (UHC) in the country, with Dagupan City and Zamboanga del Norte included among the targeted UHC integration sites of DOH. 

The Health Department itself underwent the public revalida and presented its progress in terms of “catalyzing the transformation of local health systems into province-wide and city-wide.” DOH stated in their presentation how the pandemic had become an opportunity to fast-track the implementation of UHC—for which there were already engagements with LGUs—since the strengthening of local health systems and their capacity to deliver quality health services quickly became essential in the country’s fight against COVID-19. 

These are only a few of the many public institutions still in line to deliver their strategic impact reports within the coming new year. As the Philippine society marches forward into the new normal, the hope is that from this simple platform for governance best practice sharing, the learning and co-creating stages of recovery would follow.