• Learning with other ‘governance warriors’

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    CHIARA MANUEL

    I HAVE always felt small in the 85,000-strong Philippine Army. As one of the youngest employees in the Army Governance and Strategy Management Office (AGSMO), it wasn’t easy to see how my everyday work was creating an impact in the organization. But governance, as taught to us in the Governance Boot Camp, does involve every individual in the organization. It is a discipline that believes each person is essential in developing and carrying out the organization’s strategy.

    Learning this made me more confident in what I do, and reminded me of the true meaning of leadership. In the Governance Boot Camp, we were given a chance to reflect on our roles and contributions to our organizations. Since we were all from the public sector, it was also a check on how willing we were to endure the transformation effort together with our organizations. This helped along our sense of ownership and inspired us to keep improving our systems and processes. I know everything we do will reflect on the organization in the long run.

    Best-practice sharing is a very effective way of uniting different institutions under a single cause: that of pursuing a long-term vision. The Governance Boot Camp made this possible through engaging and worthwhile activities and lectures. Being surrounded by “governance warriors” from different national government agencies and local government units, I learned lessons beyond the lectures and workshops in strategy design, execution and management. The firsthand experiences of transforming organizations provided many reflections on both successes and challenges that have been encountered.

    The experience was enriching for me, not only because I am part of a transforming organization but also because I am an individual passionate about change in society. The framework we learned, which is the Performance Governance System (PGS), highlights the importance of an institution duly exercising its mandate to deliver real impact.

    All of our discussions over the four-day period were centered on this idea, making transition from one module to another smoother. Spreading us out among small groups also made the best-practice sharing experience more intimate. It felt like a safe space for benchmarking between our public-sector organizations, and we could freely talk about where our organization was and what else we could improve on.

    I might have already been practicing strategy management before I went to the Governance Boot Camp, but the inspiration it has left me is what will fuel my being part of the Philippine Army’s transformation effort to become a world-class Army that is a source of national pride by 2028.

    The Governance Boot Camp accomplished its purpose of linking national government agencies and local government units to look in one direction: our Dream Philippines.

    Chiara Karenina Gaud Manuel is a civilian employee at the Army Governance and Strategy Management Office (AGSMO) of the Philippine Army. She was voted “ultimate governance warrior” – equivalent to class valedictorian – of ISA’s 15th Governance Boot Camp held in Mariveles, Bataan, from February 15 to 18. She dreams of a gender-responsive Philippines and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Women and Development at UP Diliman. She has a bachelor’s degree in Development Communication from UP Los Baños.

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