The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), in cooperation with the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), through the Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity (COE-PSP) Program Management Office, implemented this year’s first run of the APO Development of Public Sector Productivity Specialists (APO DPSPS).

The course was conducted online and ran from 16 to 20 May 2022. It was attended by 50 participants from APO member countries such as Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Republic of China, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and the Philippines. It trained the participants in the relevant concepts, approaches, tools, and techniques to develop their competencies as productivity specialists in the public sector. 

The course predominantly featured Dr. Shin Kim, Senior Research Fellow with the Division of Regulatory Innovation Research, Korea Institute of Public Administration, Republic of Korea, and Dr. D. Brian Marson, President of the Public Service Excellence Institute, Canada, as its two main speakers. They were supported by presentations from DAP officers Mr. Arnel D. Abanto, Vice President and Managing Director of the Productivity and Development Center, and Ms. Maria Rosario A. Ablan, Program Director of the AO 25 Secretariat, as well as case presentations from key Philippine government officials.

Productivity Trends and Concepts

NEDA Undersecretary Jose Miguel de la Rosa, the APO Director for the Philippines, during his opening remarks

The opening day began with a message from National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Jose Miguel de la Rosa, the APO Director for the Philippines, who emphasized the need for more individuals capable of transforming the public sector to become more innovative, agile, and impactful. This was followed by the first session of the course, The Role of the Public Sector and Global Trends in Improving Productivity, in which Dr. Kim discussed the importance of productivity in governance. This was further enriched by the day’s final session on Public Sector Leadership. Dr. Marson used this session to clarify the differences between leadership and management, especially in the context of the public sector, and how each can contribute to productivity.

Dr. Shin Kim discussing key concepts in public sector productivity

Dr. Marson opened the following day’s sessions, beginning with the topic Citizen-Centered Service and Opportunities for Improving Public Service Delivery in the New Normal.  Much of the discussion revolved around the experiences of the Philippines, Singapore, New Zealand, and Canada in measuring client satisfaction with government services and addressing the gaps and problems that were highlighted by the public.

Dr. Kim followed with a session on Performance Management, particularly on its relation to productivity, accountability, and, ultimately, results. One of his insights was that, in the past, organizations approached this by first thinking about how to manage their resources. But now, the thinking has shifted to first identifying goals and objectives before determining the required actions and resources.

To close the day’s sessions, Dr. Marson facilitated a group exercise on citizen-centered services. Participants were divided into four groups to brainstorm service improvement plans based on their group’s assigned case study. Afterwards, each group’s representative presented their findings and discussed with the larger group.

Participants presenting their outputs from the exercise on citizen-centered services

Assessing, Measuring, and Improving Productivity

The third day of the course opened with the session on Development of Productivity Improvement Plans, where Dr. Marson discussed the key steps needed to devise an initiative that would increase an organization’s productivity in a systematic way. These include conducting baseline performance assessments, establishing clear objectives, and selecting the appropriate components that would ensure the effectiveness and quality of the resulting action. He highlighted the use of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) as a basis for developing a thorough and well-executed improvement plan.

Dr. Marson discussing how to improve productivity using the Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

The next session, Measuring Public Sector Productivity, was covered by Mr. Abanto, who began by discussing the key considerations in estimating public sector productivity, such as the effective communication of productivity information for policy, decision-making, and improvement action. He then proceeded to demonstrate index-based productivity measurement, highlighting the use of cost-weighing and deflating to ensure the accuracy of the resulting productivity estimates.

Mr. Abanto conducting an exercise on index-based measurement of public sector productivity

Dr. Marson led the fourth day of sessions with his discussion of Change Management in the Public Sector. This particular session included mini-case studies and group discussions on theories of and best practices in change management specific to the public sector. The participants’ questions centered on the change management process, its challenges, and the solutions needed to overcome the said challenges.

The following topic, Approaches for Improving Organizational Productivity, was covered by Ms. Ablan. She discussed a range of practical tools and techniques to improve productivity such as the 5S Methodology or Practical Industrial Engineering (IE). She also highlighted the importance of understanding the underlying principles in choosing the right tools and techniques and employing the appropriate solutions for the problems at hand.

Ms. Ablan sharing her insights on continuous improvement in the public sector

The Application of Technology in Public Sector Productivity

The last day of the course began with two presentations of local projects showcasing how their initiatives and leadership strategies concretized the concepts and tools of productivity, particularly in the use of digital technology.

First to present was Ms. Maria Luisa Khristina C. Oliveros, Supervising Labor and Employment Officer for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) CAMANAVA Field Office. She demonstrated how her project on virtual site inspections proved to be a safe means of conducting labor inspections, especially given the difficulties brought by COVID-19. 

Ms. Oliveros sharing her presentation on adapting on-site inspections to the risks associated with COVID-19

Second was Dr. Edward E. Baña, Education Program Supervisor for the Department of Education Schools Division Office of Antique. He presented how his project on using RFID technology for student monitoring helped prevent children from dropping out and also provided more efficient workflows for the school’s employees.

Dr. Baña presenting on the use of RFID technology to better monitor the attendance and performance of schoolchildren

These presentations flowed directly into the final session of the course, which was on the topic of E-Government. Dr. Kim discussed how best to understand the concept of e-government, and showcased some best practices in the use of ICT across different public sector cases from various countries.

DAP President and CEO Atty. Caronan giving his closing remarks.

To formally close the five-day training, APO Alternate Director for the Philippines and DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan, Jr., delivered a message that thanked the APO and DAP teams for their efforts in hosting the course and commended the resource persons for sharing their knowledge and guiding the participants. He added that he is looking forward to the innovations that the participants will implement to help public sector organizations improve their productivity.

The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), as the Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity designated by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), held a multi-country training program to develop public sector specialists from 6 to 10 December 2021. With the Philippines as the hosting country, 43 representatives from APO member countries learned concepts, issues, challenges, tools, frameworks, and strategies related to public sector productivity (PSP) improvement.

Throughout the course, the participants listened to various presentations from Dr. Brian Marson, Dr. Shin Kim, Ms. Maria Rosario A. Ablan, and Mr. Arnel Abanto on PSP measurement, performance management, leadership, change management, citizen-centered services, and organizational productivity. There were also group discussions on case studies and exercises on the tools provided to practice what they learned throughout the program.

The course is the first step towards certification as public sector productivity specialists. After their training, the participants are tasked with developing action plans to raise the productivity of their respective agencies using the tools and skills they have gained.

Building the foundation for understanding PSP

Dr. Kim of the Korea Institute of Public Administration discussed first the role of the public sector and global trends in improving productivity. He explained that the role of the public sector in economic development is crucial, and thus a careful strategy is required to promote the social and economic well-being of the people through efficient and effective public sector management. He also discussed the evolution of public administration and provided different case examples to support transforming government. 

Dr. Marson of the Institute for Citizen-Centered Service discussed the importance of leadership in achieving key results focused on the 3Ps: purpose, people, and performance. He also showed how the organizing principle around which public service delivery is designed and planned can be conceptualized through identifying and addressing the citizens’ needs. Dr. Marson recommended that responsive government services can be implemented through listening to citizens, meeting their needs, and providing efficient, honest, and integrated service delivery.  “To improve citizen satisfaction scores, we need to actively listen to the people we serve,” he told the trainees.

Regulatory reform is also crucial in improving productivity. Dr. Kim defined regulatory reform as changes that enhance the performance, cost-effectiveness, or legal quality of regulations. He explained that while the public perception around regulatory reform focuses on deregulation, it should also include reregulation, smart regulation, and regulatory management. Comprehensive reform is thus recommended over a piecemeal approach, provided that governments must first identify objectives and weigh its options before any reform is implemented.

Dr. Kim then discussed result-oriented performance management, particularly as it is used in South Korea to improve organizational, sectoral and national productivity. He also showed how e-government can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of governments while bringing forth new concepts of citizenship, both in terms of needs and responsibilities, by engaging, enabling and empowering citizens. Governments can use the UN’s E-Government Survey to assess their performance and develop policies and strategies.

Improving organizational productivity was then classified by Ms. Ablan into four approaches: doing more with less,  doing more with the same, doing much more with more, doing the same with less, and doing less with much less. Government units that face productivity issues can diagnose and solve them through the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle,  but for productivity improvement projects to be successful and long-standing, they have to manage political, technical, and behavioral conditions. Ms. Ablan also recommended striving for continuous improvement and innovation to ensure continued productivity.

Operationalizing productivity improvement

To open the session on the development of productivity improvement plans, Dr. Marson discussed models, frameworks, and thematic approaches that are the focus of the management excellence agenda in APO member countries. He also discussed steps to improve overall organizational performance using the CAF (Common Assessment Framework) Model, which uses self-assessment to generate and prioritize possible improvement plans, and the APO Business Excellence Model. 

Mr. Abanto followed with a presentation on measuring public sector productivity, discussing key considerations in estimating public sector productivity such as the level of analysis, the availability and quality of data, the information needs of the user of productivity information, and the productivity measurement framework being used. He also explained how to calculate public sector productivity indexes to prepare participants for a breakout session that would allow them to try their hands at productivity measurement. 

On the last day of the training, local presenters from the Philippines shared their best practices and experiences to illustrate the concepts and approaches at work. Mr. Joel Mendoza, of the City Government of Ormoc, Leyte shared the city’s improvement and intervention for better service through the in-house development of systems for business and franchising permits that enable small enterprises to easily process their permits. Ms. Marizza Grande, of the Philippine Statistics Authority, also shared the agency’s improvement with the Decentralized Copy Annotation Process (DeCAP) project, which provides seamless processing of documents at regional centers. 

The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), through its Productivity and Development Center (PDC), in cooperation with the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), successfully hosted the Conference on Urban Agroecology and Food Security last 9 September 2021, via Zoom and YouTube Live.

Attended by 55 participants from Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Japan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Philippines, and viewed by 75 YouTube observers, the virtual conference was graced by esteemed guest speakers including the Philippine’s Agriculture Chief, Secretary William D. Dar, and the new APO Director for the Philippines, NEDA Undersecretary Jose Miguel R. De La Rosa. The DAP Officials also took part in the virtual event including its President and CEO, Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan, Jr., Senior Vice President for Programs, Ms. Magdalena L. Mendoza, and Vice President and PDC Managing Director, Mr. Arnel D. Abanto.

Welcome remarks by NEDA Undersecretary Jose Miguel R. De La Rosa, APO Director for the Philippines

The APO Director for the Philippines, Usec. Jose Miguel R. De La Rosa, in his welcome remarks, pointed out that efforts to ensure food security must be complemented with building a resilient and sustainable urban food production system, and while urban agriculture may not solve the complex and interconnected dilemmas in the food system, it has the potential to contribute to food security among urban dwellers.

In the keynote presentation of Secretary William D. Dar, he underscored the global impacts of COVID-19 to the agriculture sector including disruptions in food supply, labor shortages, reduction in job quality, food wastage, affected livelihoods, price spikes, and increased price volatility, among others. While the global health crisis may have sparked an enthusiasm in urban agriculture, it has become increasingly clear that sustaining it is just as important. He also encouraged the attendees to consider the online conference as an excellent opportunity to exchange views, collaborate, and reforest the existing knowledge base about the sustainability of urban ecology.

Aside from the valuable insights of the esteemed guest speakers, brilliant and adept international and local resource persons provided the participants with informative presentations.

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Food Security and the Role of Urban Agroecology/Agriculture in a Global Context  was presented by Mr. Kit Chan of K-Farm Sendirian Berhad Malaysia. He emphasized that in order to address food emergencies and food security crises, there should be short-term and long-term measures. Short-term interventions entail a) providing fiscal support to lower food import tariffs and taxes, b) reviving rural financial systems, and c) declaring food production, marketing, and distribution as essential services to keep trade corridors open, among others; while long-term measures involve a) regenerating and increasing food system incomes, b) building early warning systems, and c) promoting climate-resilient productivity growth, to name a few.

Next to present was Dr. Hironori Yagi of the University of Tokyo, who discussed the  Sustainability of Urban Agriculture for Post-Pandemic Society, the Sustainability and Persistence Theory, as well as, the urban agriculture-related empirical researches and the impact of the pandemic on the sector. Dr. Yagi stressed the importance of drastic policy changes especially during the “new normal”, and inter-linkage of normative sustainability evaluation and empirical persistence investigation to validate multiple information, enhance resource base, and further facilitate an interdisciplinary approach towards sustainable urban agriculture. 

The third topic discussed by Ms. Diah Meidiantie of PT. Hydrofarm Indonesia was Policies and Resources Support to Help Urban Agriculture. It underscored the important references for agriculture policy-making which include sufficient needs-based community assessment guided by availability, access, and safety as primary attributes towards improving the quality of the environment and empowering the community to achieve its goals in relation to food security.

The last topic on Best Practices of Urban Agriculture and Strategies for Implementation was presented by Dr. Rosana P. Mula of the Agricultural Training Institute. She shared the best practices of urban and peri-urban (UPU) agriculture. These involve establishment of UPU community/school gardens, capability development activities, provision of urban agriculture starter kits, information, knowledge sharing and communication services, market linkages, and partnerships and collaborations.

The high-level presentations were followed by a Panel Discussion which was facilitated by Dir. Gerald Glenn F. Panganiban of the DA’s Urban Agriculture Program. Trigger questions from the resource persons ultimately spurred the interest of the participants and viewers to raise discerning questions that were acknowledged accordingly during the discussion.

DAP Senior Vice President Ms. Magdalena L. Mendoza highlighted in her closing remarks that amid the health crisis and natural calamities, it is even more timely to collaborate and strengthen support to farmers and consumers while promoting self-reliance among people in producing foods that can be grown at home. She also mentioned the significance of exemplifying urban agriculture through a variety of technologies that may be adopted in the community or at home such as hydroponics, vertical gardening, green alley, and UPU agriculture.

The sought-after conference is one of the 2021 virtual programs of the APO assigned to the DAP-PDC Productivity Development Research Office anchored on the goal of promoting innovative approaches across all sectors of the economy and bolstering the institutional infrastructure crucial to sustained productivity improvement especially amid the pandemic.  For more information, visit, or email  

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The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), through its Productivity and Development Center, in partnership with the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), an intergovernmental organization in the Asia-Pacific region, is conducting the Workshop on Modern Food Transportation and Regulation on 13 to 15 July 2021 via Zoom.

The workshop will highlight the importance of smart transformation of food transportation in member countries to meet modern consumers’ needs such as timely delivery, high quality, and safe food from secure sources. This goal is anchored on the commitment and key result areas of the APO in reference to its newly launched Vision 2025 striving for an “inclusive, innovation-led productivity growth in Asia and the Pacific.

Moreover, the three-day virtual activity will discuss highly relevant topics which mainly focus on Global Trends, Challenges, Policy/Regulatory Responses, and Opportunities in Food Transportation, Modern Delivery System with the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Cold Chain Logistics in Response to Covid-19, and International Standard on Temperature-Controlled Parcel Delivery Service (ISO23412). The duration of each day’s sessions will be around four hours comprising of presentations, interactive group discussions, and other relevant collaborative learning methods.

Expected to be attended by some 30 foreign and local participants from Bangladesh, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Republic of China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, and Philippines, the workshop will also be graced by experts and presenters on agricultural economy, cold chain management using state- of-the-art technologies, and relevant management systems, particularly ISO 23412:2020.

This initiative is part of the virtual programs conducted under the Digital Multi- Country programs of the APO. This is pursuant to the unified goal of the DAP and APO to promote innovative interventions, approaches and best practices across all sectors of the economy, foster the development forces at work both in national and regional scale, and bolster the institutional infrastructure crucial to sustained productivity improvement. Indeed, the APO and the National Productivity Organizations (NPOs) have continuously lived up to their commitment to contribute to the socioeconomic development of Asia and the Pacific through the enhancement of productivity.

The DAP, as the country’s National Productivity Organization, and the APO,
hope to continuously impact food transportation and logistics at all levels — national, local or even global in the coming years. For more information, visit or email

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