“The only thing that is constant in life is change.” Cliché as it may sound, but it is true. Change is inevitable in one’s life, but to be able to be the one to bring a good change to a lot of people is something noble to aspire to.

Take Edward Bana, for example. He is the team leader of the group which created TROPHY, or the Transformed Human Resource Office through Proficient Hiring System, and the developer of the Document Tracking System (DTS). Both of these projects aim for one thing – to provide a faster and much more proficient system for the people and offices involved in the Department of Education (DepEd) in Antique.

The Future with Technology

Technology plays a big role in our lives. It makes everything more efficient for us, from doing simple tasks to running complex processes. The future, in all of its uncertain glory, includes the involvement (and evolvement) of technology.

One of the main factors that contributed to the birth of TROPHY is the desire for change. Data processing can be complicated, and it frequently results in undesirable outcomes such as lost documents or slow updates. TROPHY’s main goal is to organize and quicken the processes of recruitment, selection, and placement within the division of Antique. With the help of technology, Bana and his team were able to come up with TROPHY to make the accessing and processing of data faster.

TROPHY is established to raise the division’s level of excellence in governance and public service efficiency, while following its principles. The division was able to create numerous technology-based systems, some of which are the following: a recruitment, selection, and placement manual which improved the hiring system; created an online system of recruitment and application; and created a database of all teaching and non-teaching personnel of the division office to fast-track the release of benefits.

Moreover, there is a reward system called Pasidungog, where they honor or commend outstanding teaching and non-teaching employees in the division – something to motivate and give back to those who are doing great in their jobs.

Fast-track, Faster Tracked

Much like a shipment made, documents circulating the division office of Antique now haves their own tracking numbers, all thanks to Bana’s Document Tracking System.

The Document Tracking System, which was launched on the 22nd of February this year, is a program that is installed in every functional unit of the division office, district office, and public schools. It is an automated routing and monitoring system for all papers submitted to and handled by the different sections in the division office. As a computer programmer, Bana explained that as it has been his hobby to create systems, and the DTS is one of his pet-ideas for technology-based innovations in their office.

Bana also shared that he felt very happy to hear how important the DTS has been to school heads and the district staff. “It is fulfilling to hear stories,” he said, “they are happy that because of this system, they need not to go to the division office just to check the status of their MOOE requests, DTRs submitted, reimbursements, appointment papers, and all other documents that need action from the different service providers in the division office.” The positive feedback from the software users themselves are solid proof that the DTS is of huge help in making processes more fast-track.

As to how the project came to be, Bana mentioned that at a workshop conducted by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), another participating team identified the need for a technology-based project that intends to improve the internal procedures in their office. They underlined the need for a Document Tracking System to improve the efficacy, efficiency, and transparency of document processing, particularly in the areas of finances, teacher hiring, and the promotion of employees. Similar to the concern of the other team, lost papers, the difficulty of tracing documents for follow-ups, and a reliable communication medium between service providers and document owners, have all been mentioned as issues in their division.

Because of the said problems within the office regarding the loss and negligence of other documents, Bana shared that the employees who are handling these documents are now more careful than ever. “Previously, we cannot impose accountability on those documents,” he said, “but this time, the different personnel in the different offices [who] have become very conscious and cautious in handling the documents.” Bana further explained that the reason why the employees are more cautious than before is that with the help of the internet-based component of the DTS, the history of a document can be accessed by just inputting its tracking number in the system.

Changes in Oneself

From working alone to leading a whole team, it can be implied that there is more than one thing that has changed for Bana.

“To be involved in a project that is successfully implemented brings fulfillment to my life as a public servant,” the developer shared. Bana revealed that the DTS project pushed him to put in extra hours of study and research into figuring out how to translate the expectations and ideas of the system’s target clients into complex codes. He also shared that his position has shifted slightly from a full-time source code programmer to a major project manager and source code developer. 

No I in Team

Matt Mulleweg once said, “Technology is best when it brings people together.”

In the past, Bana was fond of working alone, developing systems all by himself. However, being part of a team and being able to collaborate with others changed his perception. “Working with a team and with a lot of ideas pouring in through consultations and collaboration, and with distribution of tasks among the team members in terms of administrative and technical works,” he shared, “we realized that our development became faster and our product became more relevant and responsive to the needs of our target clients.”

He also mentioned that through DAP and its Education, Training, Capacity Building, Seminars (ETCBS) Program, he was able to join and produce the DTS with the help of his team. “It remained as an idea with an initial framework until I found my team and had an opportunity to work on it and make it a reality,” Bana admitted. 

Collaboration is indeed important in getting the job done. Bana expressed his gratitude on behalf of his team and all those behind TROPHY and DTS to Deputy Speaker Hon. Loren Legarda for her support, and the Development Academy of the Philippines for the workshops and training that the team was able to attend, which helped in strengthening their camaraderie as a group and improve their knowledge as individuals. 

Like what Elon Musk said, “Your will is the most accurate way to predict your future.” The future is somehow scary – full of uncertainties, a lot of things will change along the way. But, if you really want to see change, you must start to gather up the will to do so.

In these trying times, it is important to see others just as significant as you see yourself. For one who wishes for change to happen – for yourself or even those around you – one must be clear of what future they want to have. As long as you dream for change, change will definitely come.