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September Governance Review: More capacity development programs await as ‘ber’ months kick off

Known for celebrating Christmas the longest in the world, we Filipinos mark the month of September as the beginning of a bustling four-month celebration of the holiday season. Consistently working towards our mission of making governance a shared responsibility, the -Ber months similarly signify the start of a long and busy final quarter of the year for us in the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) and our partners in the public sector.

As we begin the most wonderful time of the year, here is a roundup of our events in September:

Skills Lab on Change Management

ISA conducted its online Skills Lab on Change Management entitled “Overcoming disruption through periods of change” last September 8. Facilitated by Ms. Elizha Corpus, a culture transformation expert, this Skills Lab course equipped 14 delegates from the health sector, local government units, and national government agencies on coping with organizational shifts and a renowned employee-centric framework.

Ms. Corpus began the discussion with an in-depth background on change management, where the delegates learned about two employee-centric frameworks: Kotter’s and Prosci’s change models.

“Change is the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip, and support individuals to successfully adopt the change to drive organizational success and outcomes,” she explained.

She also emphasized that while our current reality is “volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA), organizations must learn how to continue operating as change happens. 

Ms. Corpus then discussed “The Hows of Change” and explained the considerations they should make when leading and implementing change in their respective organizations. She also highlighted using specific tools, such as the SWOT analysis and the Organization Perception Questionnaire, in targeting certain change aspects. 

Moreover, the speaker advised utilizing coaching as a tool by asking open and empowering questions rather than using closed and disempowering ones to show intent in leading change within one’s organization.

Following the series of lectures, the delegates entered their workshop groups, where they were tasked to apply their learnings. Each group crafted a vision statement to encourage people to support the possible changes in their organization, identify certain changes to be made, and convince their leaders to make these adjustments happen. After each presentation, Ms. Corpus provided insightful feedback and advice to the participants.

To cap off the course, Ms. Corpus gave the participants a rundown and synthesis of the workshop. She also asked the participants a question to ponder: “What will you do tomorrow to begin leading the change you want to see?” The participants collectively suggested further understanding the organization and its culture and inspiring members within the team.

“What we’re trying to get into is culture change. I think that for the most part, all change management processes that we engage in organizations… are all related to culture change or culture transformation in one way or another,” Ms. Corpus said.

Skills Lab on Project Management

For the second time this year, ISA conducted a Skills Lab on Project Management entitled “Being in Charge of your Roadmap” last September 14. Led by ISA’s go-to management expert, Mr. Robbie Sia, 24 delegates from nine organizations learned about efficiently crafting and mobilizing plans to achieve organizational goals.

Mr. Sia began the lecture by giving the participants an overview of project management, which he defined as the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to the people.

The speaker introduced the Project Charter Template and focused on three key questions throughout the lecture to allow the participants to grasp the concepts better, starting with who project managers are. 

“Project managers are responsible for project initiation, planning, and execution. Your job is to manage the project. You need a team, especially if you are doing a project out of your focus area,” he said.

The management expert’s next question on the different project methodologies led to the discussion of three methods: Waterfall, where sequential activities with results are achieved at the end; Agile, which uses iteration to deliver faster; and Lean, which eliminates waste to provide value using minimal resources.

Finally, on the question about the significance of project management in an organization, Mr. Sia stressed that it provides the team with a clear objective aligned with the organization’s strategies. When asked to spearhead a project, he continued, it is crucial to ask the 5Ws (Who, What, When, and Why) to know your roles and responsibilities and scope of work.

The participants were then tasked to create a project charter for their organization, which was presented before the other delegates. Mr. Sia also took the time to give the participants insightful feedback to improve their work and left off a few reminders for the delegates in their project management journey. 

“Don’t forget to celebrate the end of the project. Don’t forget that the project was completed because of those people [the team].”

Online Revalida: Davao Regional Medical Center

The Davao Regional Medical Center took home the Silver Trailblazer Award for its successful rollout of the third stage of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s (ISA) flagship program, the Performance Governance System (PGS).

The government tertiary training hospital was conferred the PGS Compliant Status during an online public revalida, a virtual platform under the annual Public Governance Forum where institutions can showcase their progress and milestones in the PGS pathway.

DRMC Medical Center Chief, Dr. Bryan O. Dalid, proudly presented how the medical institution strives to become a multi-specialty and globally competitive medical center in Northeastern Mindanao in 2022.

The DRMC began its transformation journey in 2018 and was conferred the PGS Compliant status with a Gold Trailblazer Award the following year. After three years of consistent commitment towards the accomplishment of their 2022 Strategy Map, Dr. Dalid shared the three breakthroughs they have attained thus far, namely its advanced specialty centers, fully operational DRMC Ward Extension, and increased bed capacity.

“These transformations are seen and felt by everyone, as well as our external stakeholders, through these feedbacks,” Dr. Dalid said, followed up by an overview of comments and acknowledgments from their nurses, patients, and other stakeholders.

According to Dr. Dalid, effectively executing the strategy involved welcoming innovations during cascading, thorough monitoring and evaluation, process coaching, and, most notably,  implementing a rewards and recognition system.

“For the rewards and recognition, PSMO (Planning and Strategy Management Office in Action) initiated the PGS Gawad Sigla Award, along with its criteria and guidelines, as the strategy execution awarding mechanism. This is in collaboration with the PRAISE Committee to institutionalize this award mechanism,” he added.

DRMC took pride in its 10-member multi-sectoral governance council, with members from the Department of Health, the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples – Davao del Norte, and the Bureau of Treasury, among others. 

“The MSGC members are divided into three committees: the Committee on Advocacy, the Committee on Resource Planning and Generation, and the Committee on Governance. Each committee is working on projects that lead to the attainment of the DRMC vision,” Dr. Dalid explained. 

The revalida’s multi-sector panel, led by the panel chair and ISA Trustee, Ms. Mary Jane Ortega, commended the teaching training hospital for progressing on its third stage of the PGS pathway, noting areas for improvement, particularly on strengthened community participation. Upon receiving their Silver Trailblazer award during his acceptance speech, Dr. Dalid thanked all the men and women behind DRMC, who all played a vital role in attaining their goals for the institution.

“On behalf of DRMC, this is a product of a collaborative and cooperative effort. Our PGS Core Team and MSGC partners who were so generous with their inputs and insights, and most especially to all DRMC personnel who helped us achieve our targets and breakthroughs that led to this award,” he said.

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

Public service can be a tremendously demanding experience, with government institutions under constant public scrutiny for each step they take toward their goals. They are driven to go beyond and undertake extensive reforms to address internal and external issues and earn the public’s trust.

In partnership with and MovePH, ISA conducted its second run of the Ka-ISA sa Kaunlaran: PGS Transformation Stories, where notable partners from the public sector shared their journey towards better public service through the PGS. In this webinar, the ISA partners showcased their next steps to serve the nation better and discussed the importance of good leadership amid crises.

Sharing their PGS journey, this webinar featured the following panel speakers: RAdm. Jande S. Francisco (Ret), Chief of the Planning and Management Office of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO); Hon. Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City; and Dr. Sonia B. Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).

Among the reactors were CG Capt. Eric R. Ferrancullo, Deputy Chief of the Coast Guard Staff for Strategic Studies and Modernization of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG); JSupt. Christopher R. Penilla, Deputy Chief of the Center for Jail Excellence and Strategy Management of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP); and Dr. Marvinson Fajardo, Research Project Manager for Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI). This session was moderated by esteemed ISA Associate Atty. Paolo Raynor Salvosa.

Before embarking on their respective PGS transformation stories, the presenting institutions encountered many challenges of all shapes and sizes. For the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Gonzalez revealed that one of their pain points involved budget and resources, which negatively impacted the staff’s workload.

“Napapatanong kami sa sarili namin, ‘Teka muna. Ganyan na lang ba tayo palagi? Hindi na namin natuunan ng pansin ‘yung ibang services na pwedeng i-highlight sana. We can serve more’,” she recalled.

Meanwhile, in the Heart of the Philippines, Iloilo City Mayor Treñas shared that one of the priority items in their PGS wishlist was digitalizing its collection for real property taxes and business taxes. Despite the resistance from their treasurer, they made sure that this was an essential step towards ensuring efficiency. 

PVAO came a long way before its Institutionalization in 2019. One challenge they faced was balancing the several programs they were enrolled in, including the Performance Governance System. 

“Masyadong maraming sistema ang kailangan itagpi-tagpi. Nagiging multi-tasking na ang mga tao. Nagkaroon po kami ng pagka-rami raming committee,” RAdm. Francisco revealed. 

Later on, however, they were able to craft and implement their “Kagitingan Roadmap,” which ultimately aided the communication process within their organization. 

He also shared that the PVAO has secured a reliable set of Multi-Sectoral Governance Council members, many of whom are veterans. “Sila po mismo ang tumutulong sa’min sa pagsasagawa ng mga inisyatibo. Natural na natural asa kanila ang pagtulong”, he shared.

Similarly, Dr. Gonzalez noted that PCMC’s very own MSGC was especially active in giving them advice and direction: “Members of the MSGC were really very helpful. They have this commitment na mai-angat ang health sector.”

Integrating the PGS framework into their existing systems was a major step for all organizations. For PCMC, Dr. Gonzalez shared that the Office for Strategy Management (OSM) is already part of their organizational structure and that this measure is vital in communication, cascading, and putting everyone in the loop. They have also resorted to incorporating younger and newer members into their core team to ensure that the new generation will continue the implementation of the PGS as the older members retire.

Meanwhile, RAdm. Francisco shared that the PGS tremendously helped in synchronizing the government systems. And to maintain the PGS in his organization, he said that the culture of teamwork (kultura ng pagtutulungan) must be developed and the organization must remain guided by its core values.

The true essence of public service, according to CG Capt. Ferrancullo means the public sector reaching out to the public and not the other way around. In this day and age, he also emphasized that there needs to be a shift from government to governance. 

“Dapat pag reach out po tayo sa kanila. Dapat we are prepared to deliver the best service we can offer and in doing that, dapat meron tayong efficient at effective na plano on how to go about it in delivering our public service,” CG Capt. Ferrancullo said.

Meanwhile, as for the BJMP, JSupt. Penilla shared that the focus should be on moving away from the institution’s relationship with the status quo and adopting new competencies, values, and processes.

To end the webinar, Dr. Gonzalez shared a compelling and inspiring message with the attendees who wish to embark on their own transformation journey. 

“For those who will be undergoing the PGS journey, talagang ituloy ninyo. It will really be very helpful. Sa ngayon, naririnig ko pa sa brain ko yung laging sinasabi samin ni Sir Chris Zaens [ISA Executive Director] na, ‘Ano ba ang organization mo? Is that business as usual or do you want to go beyond what is better?” she said.


We have more prorgams in store for you! Check out ISA’s events for the month of October and stay tuned for updates and announcements:

October 21 | Public Governance Forum (Online Revalida): Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital & Medical Center (Proficiency)

Register here:

October 24 | Public Governance Forum (Online Revalida): Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (Initiation)

Register here:

October 25 | Public Governance Forum (Online Revalida): Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (Proficiency)

Register here:

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