Updated 02:30 AM PHT Wed, October 19, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The government was the big winner in the Asia CEO Awards, as the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) bagged some of the top prizes on Tuesday night.
SBMA was awarded the Leadership Team of the Year, with the panel of judges recognizing the record highs the agency hit, in terms of revenues, profits, investments secured, and jobs generated.
It was a fiercely-contested category, but SBMA beat out companies like Australia-based Acquire BPO, aircon-maker Concepcion Industrial Corp., Ayala-run Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI), and logistics provider LBC Express.
"This award shows that government agencies can deliver a world-class level of service that can compete among the best companies in the Philippines," SBMA Administrator Roberto Garcia said during his acceptance speech.
Last year, another government agency – and coincidentally enough, another freeport developer – was recognized as the Leadership Team of the Year: Clark Development Corp. It was the led by now-Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade.
GSIS was also another winner, awarded the Service Excellence Company of the Year. The judges cited the state-run pension fund for significant improvements in its customer service.
"That should be an inspiration and a message to all our other co-workers in government that we can excel, and we have excelled," Garcia said.
Garcia spent his entire career in the private sector, before being appointed to head SBMA under the Aquino administration in 2011. When he entered, he found a management team that was tired and demoralized.
The staff had only ever been given one salary increase in 18 years, and the agency was bleeding losses, he recalled. But they rallied, and not only did they turn around SBMA, they even posted its best-ever financial performance – for four consecutive years.
Garcia said: "It was the most difficult and the most challenging job of my professional career. But I have to say also, it is the most fulfilling because we have been able to achieve the targets we set out for."
Other winners in the Asia CEO Awards were Pilipinas Shell Country Chair Edgar Chua and ADEC Innovations Co-Founder James Donovan. They were hailed as the top Filipino Executive and Expatriate Executive of the Year, respectively.
Clarissa Delgado, who helped found non-profit Teach for the Philippines, was the Young Leader of the Year.
HSBC Electronic Data Processing (Philippines) Inc. was recognized as the top employer, while ANZ Global Services and Operations (Manila), Inc. was the best in corporate social responsibility.
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was given the lifetime achievement award for the public sector, while tech pioneer Dado Banatao was the private sector counterpart.