Commissioner Jose A. Fabia was appointed to the Commission on Audit (COA) on May 2, 2014 and was confirmed in record time by the Commission on Appointments unanimously and without opposition from its members on June 11, 2014. He is a lawyer with 31 years of experience in law, management, governance issues, business, communications, and healthcare.
Commissioner Fabia first joined the government in 1987 as Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Department of Health. He left the Department in 1991 to run for Mayor of his town, Binmaley, Pangasinan.
As Assistant Secretary, he assisted in developing the legal and regulatory framework for the implementation of health programs and policies. His health legal reform advocacy led to the amendment of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the enactment of the Milk Code and the Generics Act. These laws assured safe, effective and high quality, yet affordable drugs and medicines.
As the legal counsel of the Department, he was instrumental in reviewing internal audit reports that led to administrative actions against its erring officials and employees. He also served as Vice-chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board of the Philippines, member of the Board of Governors of the East Avenue Medical Center, and trustee of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine Foundation.
From 1992 to 1995, Commissioner Fabia served as Municipal Mayor of Binmaley, Pangasinan where he planned and implemented the Nutrition, Food, Environment and Medicare Program for Indigents. The program was designed to help malnourished children and their families, to increase food production in the community, to protect the environment, and to assist poor patients who have no means to pay for their hospitalization. The Program was recognized by the Asian Institute of Management, the Ford Foundation, and the Department of Interior and Local Government as one of the best local government programs in the country for its innovation, sustainability, and replicability. It won the Galing Pook Award in 1994.
Commissioner Fabia was the first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, which he transformed from a P150-million company in 1995 to a P20-billion corporation in 1998. At Philhealth, he developed the organizational and actuarial framework for a universal health insurance program. He partnered with hospitals and local government units in improving healthcare in the grassroots level, and headed health financing projects in the Philippines funded by the governments of the United States and Germany.
Trained in quality assurance in healthcare and healthcare financing under the Joint Commission International for the Accreditation of Healthcare Providers in the United States, Commissioner Fabia was awarded for his pioneering efforts in healthcare fraud detection and prevention and the radio program “Dear Philhealth,” which he started in 1998 and is still airing up to the present, was feted with the Gawad Florendo.
When he left Philhealth in 1998, the poor in the 28 poorest provinces and four cities in the country were already covered by health insurance, the Medicare program for the employed both in government and in the private sector were already under Philhealth. He laid the foundations for one of the biggest and most profitable government corporations in the country today.
Commissioner Fabia left government service from 1998 to 2010 to fulfill his obligation of guiding and caring for his growing family. While in private sector, he practiced law and was consultant of the Glycan Group of Companies in Switzerland and the province of Sandaun, Papua New Guinea.
He served as Director-General of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) from 2010 to 2012. At the PIA, he initiated the Anti-Drug Courier Program that won an Anvil Award in 2011 for successfully disabling illegal drug trafficking syndicates through public information and education, resulting in an 82% decrease in drug trafficking cases in 2011.
As the PIA head, Commissioner Fabia actively represented the Philippines in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Committee on Information and Culture (COCI). He ably represented the COCI in its fund management committee. He likewise successfully shepherded the drafting of the ASEAN communications plan as chair of its working committee.
Commissioner Fabia introduced Text Blast as a means of communicating government programs and projects, informing key decision makers of news in real-time and warning people about impending natural calamities. Text messaging is now institutionalized by Congress as a disaster preparedness tool, a service which will be provided to the people for free by the enactment of Republic Act No.10639, otherwise known as “The Free Mobile Disaster Act.” He created the Typhoon Juan Facebook account, the first social media platform for disaster information. The Typhoon Juan Facebook account evolved into the Weather Watch Account in Facebook. Weather Watch remains to be an effective information network for disaster preparedness and information.
A serial innovator, Commissioner Fabia anchored the TV program Communications and News Exchange Forum, a tool to disseminate government programs and a strategy to make government transparent and accountable. He also started the “One Mindanao” daily online magazine, the first of its kind in the country.
After passing the bar in 1982 with the grade of 84.75%, Commissioner Fabia started his law practice in the Province of Pangasinan. He advocated environmental protection, provided legal representation to poor litigants, and helped watch groups in the prevention of electoral fraud during the 1986 Philippine Presidential Election. He was also a law professor at the University of Pangasinan where he introduced critical thinking and case method in the subjects that he taught.
For his significant contributions in the field of public service, Commissioner Fabia was awarded the Most Outstanding Pangasinense in Public Service by the Kaluyagan nen Palaris, a socio-civic confederation of Pangasinan organizations.
Commissioner Fabia holds a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship (with Superior Distinction) from the Asian Institute of Management, a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Santo Tomas.