The Development Academy of the Philippines recently hosted the Asian Productivity Organization’s “Workshop on Developing Productivity Specialists in the Public Sector” at the O.D. Corpuz Hall at the DAP Building in Pasig City. The workshop, which was attended by 28 participants from 14 APO member countries, was conducted to confirm the quality and relevance of the different units contained in the modules of the course manual developed last year by APO experts. The workshop also aimed to equip participants with the knowledge and tools that will develop their competencies as public sector productivity specialists. Course manual development It would be remembered that a group of public sector productivity experts led by Dr. Marson, then acting as chief expert, convened in 2016 in Manila to discuss the development of the course manual on developing productivity specialists in the public sector. This course manual was envisioned to help develop the competencies of productivity and quality practitioners who can assist productivity improvement efforts of public sector organizations in member countries of the APO. Dr. Marson has actually collaborated with five other experts within the past two years to produce the 11 modules in the course manual. These experts are Dr. Anwar Sanusi of Indonesia, Dr. Shin Kim of Korea, Ms. Rauzah Zainal Abidin of Malaysia, Dr. Ora-orn Poocharoen of Thailand, and current DAP Officer in Charge Magdalena Mendoza of the Philippines. Programs showcased The workshop, which was held from March 12 to 16, contained 11 sessions delivered by the above-named experts. Aside from the lectures, group discussions and exercises, local public sector organizations were invited to showcase their programs and productivity/performance improvement initiatives. Ms. Mary Margaret Sanchez, Vice President of the Member Services Operations–NCR North East Group of the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, described the agency’s various programs and the initiatives it has developed over the years to improve its public service delivery, particularly on use of e-services. The agency has utilized information and communication technology in digitizing membership registration, contribution verification, housing loan application, and payment. Philhealth reforms highlighted On the other hand, Vergil De Claro, chief of the Corporate Planning Department of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, highlighted his agency’s reforms in advancing social health insurance. These reforms include maximizing the use of tax money to increase the subsidy for non-contributory members, ensuring fair expansion of benefits, improving financial protection and containing costs. The participants and resource persons, who came from APO member countries Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Republic of China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, also visited the Philippine Economic Zone Authority Main Office in Bonifacio Global City and the Philippine Statistics Authority office in Quezon City. PEZA, PSA initiatives shared Both agencies shared their journey in developing and implementing initiatives and programs that have enhanced the performance of their mandate in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. The PEZA articulated its characteristics as a “one-stop shop” and as a “non-stop shop” (continuous service). Similarly, the PSA discussed its own Philippine Statistical Development Program that has triggered the development of responsive, effective, and efficient systems in providing quality statistics and services. At the conclusion of the five-day workshop, the participants formulated performance/productivity improvement action plans for their respective countries and agencies in particular. These action plans will be shared with their respective national productivity organizations or NPOs for them to assist in their implementation and monitoring after six months. Daily insights and suggestions on the sessions to help enhance the content of the modules in the course manual were also solicited from the participants.