Opening Remarks of Sec. Enrique T. Ona during ISO 9001:2008 Certification Awarding Ceremonies

December 18, 2013

Wednesday | 2:00 PM | Heroes Hall, Malacanang Palace

His Excellency, President Benigno S. Aquino III
Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary of Trade and Industry
Florencio Abad, Secretary of Budget and Management
Antonio D. Kalaw Jr., President of the Development Academy of the Philippines
Renato Navarette, President and Managing Director of Certification International Philippines, Incorporated
Dr. Julie Hall, World Health Organization Representative
Fellow Health Workers, other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Good afternoon!

Today, we celebrate a significant milestone in the history of the Department of Health. Our commitment to champion the values of integrity, accountability and citizens’ trust in providing equitable, accessible, and quality health services for all Filipinos has led us to this inspiring journey. From our humble beginnings of having only one hospital and one office in the DOH ISO-certified before this administration, we have now reached new heights as DOH officially sets the record as the first government department under the executive branch to have a SINGLE DEPARTMENT-WIDE Quality Management System certified to ISO 9001:2008.

ISO standards, being strategic tools that draw on international expertise and experience, are vital resource when developing regulations and systems, both in financing and service delivery.  By integrating ISO standards in crafting regulations, the public is assured of improved quality of services, safety, and increased productivity and efficiency.

Our government has statutory requirements that are geared towards the practice and establishment of good governance and institutionalization of Quality Management System (QMS). These are statutes that promote integrity, accountability and aim to prevent graft and corruption. Among these are Executive Order No. 605, “Institutionalizing the Structure, Mechanisms and Standards to Implement the Government Quality Management Program”. EO 605 covers all departments of the Executive branch, including all Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) and Government Financial Institutions (GFIs), which are all directed to adopt ISO 9001:2008 and pursue ISO certification.

It may be recalled that for the period 2004-2010, the Global Competitiveness Index listed the Philippines as lagging behind Malaysia and Thailand in global competitiveness and in global quality management standards, compared to our Asian neighbors.

Taking on from the testimonial experiences of these selected government agencies which have benefitted much from the implementation of ISO 9001, the Department embarked on the journey to expand the coverage of our certification, coordinated by Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Gerardo Bayugo. Hence, on 17 July 2012 we had 19 ISO Certified Offices that covered 5 core processes under a single ISO certification.

This year, we have added further 40 offices and health facilities. These include: 17 Central divisions and 16 Regional Offices throughout the country having a single certification, 6 tertiary care hospitals and one attached agency, the Food and Drug Administration. The bonds of the bureaucracy have never been stronger. This is the result of the collective efforts of each and every individual throughout the entire bureaucracy, a feat dubbed by the Development Academy of the Philippines as a Super QMS.

I, therefore, take pride in the people who have worked very hard to achieve this feat. We now share an interdependent relationship of having an institutionalized government quality management infrastructure that satisfies the requirements of international standards and recognition. Now, more than ever, we have an integrated yet seamless network of processes and systems that make us united.

As you all know, the success of a single entity is the success of all, yet the opposite is also true. We have faced many challenges, but surely more will come.   We shall face many more – whether in the form of planning, building technological readiness leadership capacities, logistics upgrading, enhancing good governance, or performing other activities.

With the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda, we have been tested and this has allowed us to have a smoother coordination of the 1,227 DOH personnel from outside of the region affected, forming 119 local teams working hand-in-hand with 124 foreign teams consisting of 1,049 individuals, 26 NGOs and private Filipino health missions composed of 350 people in treating 114,482 out-patients and 8,574 hospital admissions.

All of these would not have been possible without my field commanders in the three Coordination Centers in Catbalogan, Tacloban and Cebu headed by the Regional Directors Drs. Gloria Balboa (CHD V), Marlyn W. Concovar (CHD VI), Jaime Bernadas, (CHD VII), Jose R. Llacuna, Jr (CHD VIII), and the able support at the Central Office with WHO country representative Dr. Julie Hall and Undersecretaries Drs Janet Garin and Teodoro Herbosa, Assistant Secretaries Drs. Enrique Tayag, Roland Cortez and Romulo Busuego.

In the days following the disaster, when the affected areas were cut off from all communications and support, they were able to set up quickly and efficiently the necessary framework for the response and relief for the survivors of the super-typhoon.

From the start of the Yolanda distaster to today, we have delivered 32,640 measles vaccinations and provided other public health measures to these areas that helped avoid outbreaks of measles, diarrheal diseases, and others. Through standardization of services, we have been able to cover all aspects of health including the social and psychological, leading to a total of 24,103 counseling, education, and debriefing sessions for survivors of the disaster.

As the nation’s leader in health, we shall stand in confidence and continue to catalyze robust actions in providing quality health services so that in serving our people, we make a difference in someone else’s life until we achieve universal health care. This indeed, is our Christmas present to you, Mr. President and to our countrymen.

Thank you!