The PVAO-administered hospital Veterans Memorial Medical Center is also one of the 191 awardees, being recognized for its comprehensive health care service for the veterans and their dependents; it was first certified in 26 August 2013. The award was received by Dr. Dominador M. Chiong, Jr., M. D., Chief of Medical Professional Staff of the VMMC, and Chairperson of the Veterans Hospitalization and Medical Care Program (VHMCP) Committee of PVAO. Also awarded at the ceremony were executive offices and their line agencies and bureaus – one of them is the Department of National Defense and its bureaus and agencies – offices in the Office of the President of the Philippines, Constitutional offices, government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs), state universities and colleges, and local government units (LGUs).
From its foundation up to the present, PVAO has been aiming to give better service to its clients through further improvements in its processes, programs, and policies. In 2013, PVAO enrolled for certification at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as its compliance to the Philippine Defense Reform facilitated by the Office of Defense Reforms (ODR) of the Department of National Defense (DND).
PVAO was first audited in 26 May 2013 by the Anglo-Japanese American (AJA) Registrars Inc., an independent international certifying body. The Stage 1 audit included the assessment of the documentation of the Quality Management System, evaluation of the office location and other site-specific conditions, verification of personnel’s understanding of the requirements of the ISO 9001:2008 Standard with respect to identification of key performance aspects, processes, objectives and operations of the management system, and auditing of the Top Management responsibility clauses, to name a few.
This audit was succeeded by the Stage 2 or the Main Audit in 25-26 June 2013 which evaluated, to name a few, the effectiveness of the PVAO Quality Management System for Adjudication of Pension Claims through the audit of information and objective evidence of conformity to the Standard, assessment of performance monitoring, measuring, reporting and reviewing against key performance objectives and targets, and evaluation of the management system against compliances and policies.
These first two audits were surpassed by PVAO, thus being succeeded by a Stage 3 or Surveillance Audit in 28 July 2014. The said audit focused on the support systems of the QMS and verified the Executive Committee and Management Committee’s commitment to maintain the QMS and further improve policies and programs. Audit of customer satisfaction, complaints handling, and client feedback mechanisms were also made. Stage 3 audit results revealed that there were no irregularities and non-conformities against the set standard for certification, securing PVAO an ISO recertification for 2014. The third party audit was made in 15 July 2015 by the AJA Registrars, which embarked PVAO on its third year of certification.
GQMC Chairman and Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno discussed the brief background of the ISO 9001 Standard and its importance for the government. The ISO 9001 Standard provides a model for setting up a quality management system that is not certainly perfect but has been proven effective, since 1987. Such system is applicable to all types of organizations such as the government. Through this practice, the “government aims to ensure that our services fulfill the needs and expectations of the Filipino people. But beyond satisfying the needs and expectations, we also strive to exceed their expectations as we continually improve the way we do things in government.”
Vice President Leni Robredo also graced the ceremony as the guest of honor. In her inspirational message, she said that there can only be change if we change our mind-sets on how we work: “if we succeed in encouraging a work ethic that eradicates the 8-to-5 culture, and nurture servant-leaders and change makers, we can radically change our society.” She also reiterated that as they receive the awards, what matters most is to strive for improvements that will gain confidence and faith in the government: “Subalit naniniwala po ako na ang tunay na parangal ngayong araw para sa inyo ay hindi ang pag-akyat sa entablado, kundi ang mas mataas na kumpyansa at tiwala ng ating taumbayan sa ating mga institusyon.” As an ending statement, she posed a challenge to the servant-leaders to continuously aim for “the transformation in the lives of every Filipino you serve. The best reward is to have a democracy that is efficient, effective, and inspired.”
The Government Quality Management Committee is currently composed of the Department of Budget and Management Secretary (DBM) as Chair, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary as Co-Chair, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary, Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) President, and Office of the President-Internal Audit Office Deputy Executive Secretary as members. The Committee was organized pursuant to Executive Order No. 605, s. 2007 to institutionalize the structure, mechanisms and standards to implement the Government Quality Management Program, which aims to promote and enhance public sector performance, develop an institutional infrastructure, establish the Citizen’s Charter, and recognize citizen-driven government organizations.
This recognition is a testament of PVAO to its Quality Policy of knowing the veterans and their needs, partnering with veterans organizations and other institutions, sustaining a responsive service delivery system, and continually make improvements in its services and procedures for the benefit of its clients. Through the practice of complying with the ISO 9001 Standard, employees now work better which lead to the achievement and maintenance of the QMS through the years. /A. Crescini