Last July 28, the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) took home the Gold Trailblazer Award during their Compliance Revalida, their second one on their Performance Governance System (PGS) journey. This milestone was witnessed by 97 delegates from 7 organizations, as well as a venerated multi-sectoral panel. BMC’s Medical Center Chief, Dr. Francisco DJ. Sales III, proudly presented the hospital’s progress.


BMC, in its 88 years of service, has worked towards its goal of becoming a patient-centered, highly specialized, Tertiary Medical Center with multiple specialty services in the Bicol Region by 2025. Implementing the PGS has illuminated their path towards this mission. The hospital started strong on their journey, earning a Gold Trailblazer award for their exemplary performance in their Initiation Revalida in 2019.  

“Because of the Performance Governance System, BMC is on track,” said Dr. Sales. 

But their journey towards good governance was not without its challenges. Months after their successful Initiation, the COVID-19 was declared an international pandemic. BMC immediately recalibrated its strategy by prioritizing the establishment of the Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Disease (EREID) Specialty Center, which was initially a 2028 target. Zoning was implemented to separate the COVID-19 Emergency Room, ICU, and wards from the main hospital, which enabled BMC to continue to function as a tertiary end-referral medical center. These prompt adjustments exemplify BMC’s unshakable mettle. 

“Patient care remains our priority, and no crisis can stop us from doing our mission, not even a pandemic,” said Dr. Sales. “Storm after storm, setback after setback, our desire to become better does not waver.”

BMC has since become the biggest COVID-19 referral center in Bicol and receives referrals from both private and government health facilities across Camarines-Sur and nearby provinces. According to Dr. Sales, the hospital had prepared to become a referral center even before the first confirmed COVID-19 case reached BMC.

Now, this referral system is fully online. BMC’s Integrated Hospital Operation Management Information System (IHOMIS) established an Online Referral System and an Online Appointment System for Cancer Center patients. Other innovations of the IHOMIS that improved the service delivery of BMC include an Electronic Customer Satisfaction Survey, the Human Resource Information System, and the Philhealth Automation Program. Many of these have been benchmarked by other health facilities in Camarines-Sur. 

Another significant development was the signing of the Republic Act (RA) 11478, which Dr. Sales described as “a silver lining amidst the health crisis.” The providential legal act expanded the hospital’s bed capacity from 500 to 1,000. Further increasing their bed capacity was the opening of the 8-Storey General Ward Building, the 5-Storey Emergency Room Building, the modernized Psychiatry Buildings, and the Regional Cancer Center. The additional beds have significantly reduced their bed occupancy rate from 176% in 2018 to 83% in 2021. 

“From our hospital’s overwhelming congested clinical wards which we mentioned in our Initiation, our patients are now admitted in spacious and well-ventilated rooms,” said Dr. Sales.

Throughout its PGS journey, the hospital has proven that strategy execution is a shared responsibility. BMC employed the clustering method of cascading to ensure that each of its 2,100 employees can identify their role in the hospital’s Strategy Map. 

“Our Office of Strategy Management produced a documentary video of the BMC-PGS Recalibrated Strategy Map 2025, which we presented in the online and face-to-face cascading activities,” said Dr. Sales. “We also organized a series of focus group discussions to check every BMC employee’s understanding of our PGS journey. Through our PRAISE committee, we continue to recognize those who have achieved excellence in our PGS during our Quarterly Strategy Management Reviews.”

The establishment of the BMC Multi-sectoral Governance Council (MSGC) has reinforced their linkages with external stakeholders, from whom they have received an abundance of support: The Provincial Government of Camarines-Sur lent fifteen mechanical ventilators for the EREID Specialty Center, the Rotary Club of Naga consistently donates medical equipment, and the Philippine Information Agency Camarines-Sur Chapter facilitates the hospital’s information dissemination and health campaigns by coordinating with the local and national press. 

The multisectoral panelists were impressed by BMC’s immediate strategy recalibration in response to COVID-19. The panel was led by Chair Mr. Guillermo M. Luz (Trustee, ISA) and Vice-Chair Asec. Maria Francia M. Laxamana (Assistant Secretary of Health, Department of Health). The esteemed panelists included Dr. Orlando A. Ocampo (Emergency and Ambulatory Service Management Team, PGH), Dr. Manuel Francisco T. Roxas (Cancer Commission Director, Philippine College of Surgeons), and Dr. Coralie Therese D. Dimacali (Former President, Philippine Society of Nephrology).

Dr. Dimacali and Dr. Ocampo applauded the hospital’s effective cascading methods and the clarity of their presentation. However, Dr. Ocampo also stressed the need to reinforce the succession planning, especially since Dr. Sales expressed his intent to retire as Medical Director. He suggested that Dr. Sales join the MSGC, so that his valuable experiences can continue to guide the hospital’s success. 

“As we go through this transformational journey, we realize how rewarding it turns out to be,” said Dr. Sales as he received the Gold Trailblazer Award. “This is not because of you, or because of me—it’s always a ‘we’. Our team efforts, our commitment to improve our services and be responsive to the needs of our clients, that we are now reaping the fruit of our hard work.”