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Manila Regional Benefit Office

Meet Our Leadership Team


RimaAnn O. Nelson

RimaAnn O. Nelson

RimaAnn Nelson was appointed Director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) in Manila on July 14, 2013. The Manila Office is the Department’s only office located in a foreign country. She serves as the United States Attaché for Veterans Affairs at the United States Embassy in Manila.

As the Director of USDVA Manila, Ms. Nelson is responsible for Medical and non-medical benefits administered by USDVA for Veterans, dependents, and their survivors residing in the Philippines. These benefits include disability compensation, pension, education, vocational rehabilitation and the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC) program. Monthly monetary disbursements total $17.5 million for approximately 16,000 beneficiaries. The Outpatient Clinic provides a full range of outpatient medical services for eligible Veterans on an annual budget of $13 million and had 30,000 clinical visits in Fiscal Year 2012.

Prior to her appointment in Manila, Ms. Nelson served as the Medical Director of the VA St. Louis Health Care System from September 2010 to July 2013. She attended the University of Utah. She completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in December 2010. Prior to her assignment in St. Louis, she served as Associate Director of Clinical Operations at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System. She began her service with the Department of Veteran Affairs in April 1994.

Ms. Nelson was born in Crescent City, California and in the United States has lived in Salt Lake City, Honolulu and St. Louis. She spent 12 years living in Micronesia on the island of Yap, and has also lived in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Egypt, Oman, Indonesia and Burma. She currently resides in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Philippines.

Mary Souza

Mary Souza
Assistant Director

Ms. Mary Souza was selected as the Assistant Director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) Manila Regional Office and Outpatient Clinic, effective June 2015. Ms. Souza shares responsibility for the effective and efficient direction, control, and operation of medical and non-medical benefits administered by the USDVA for Veterans, dependents, and their survivors residing in the Philippines. These benefits include disability compensation, pension, education, vocational rehabilitation and the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC) program.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Souza served as the Executive Management Officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs Western Area Office from January 2014. She served as the primary advisor to the Area Director and the Area management staff in all aspects of quality and performance activities. She emphasized priorities established by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Under Secretary for Benefits by providing expert guidance and direction to Area Regional Offices in order to achieve optimum performance in all program areas.

Ms. Souza began her career with the Veterans Benefits Administration in 1998 with the Portland VA Regional Office as a Veterans Claims Examiner. Her VA career has centered primarily in the Compensation and Pension business line where she assumed positions of increasing responsibility including Rating Specialist, Fiduciary and Field Examiner Supervisor, and Supervisory Veterans Service Representative (Coach). She has had the additional responsibilities as the Regional Office’s Women Veterans Coordinator, Military Outreach Specialist, Casualty Assistance Officer, Public Affairs Officer and Privacy Officer.

Ms. Souza entered Active Duty in the U.S. Air Force in May 1994 and continued to serve in the Oregon Air National Guard as an Air Battle Manager until January 2007. She graduated from Park College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Psychology and has completed coursework in a Master’s Degree program in Operations Management at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Ms. Souza currently resides with her husband, David, and their daughters, Elizabeth and Ashlee, in Makati City, Philippines.

Jessica Gathercole

Jessica Gathercole
Veterans Service Center Manager

Phebe Pendon took her position as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and a Counselor-in-Charge in June 18, 2000. Prior to this appointment, she was a Program Nurse Supervisor & Clinical Psychologist of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Section at the Philippine Heart Center. She was awarded as a distinguished Fellow of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation in 1999. She is a Certified Veterans Rehabilitation Counselor and a VR&E Certified Employment Coordinator.  

Jessica began her federal government career with Social Security Administration in 2002 and transferred to VA in 2005 as a Veterans Service Representative (VSR) at the Des Moines Regional Office. Subsequently, she performed the duties of a Rating Veterans Service Representative and a Coach. She is a graduate of the 2012 Leadership Development Program. Jessica attended Upper Iowa University in Des Moines, IA and holds a Bachelor of Science with Cum Laude Honors in Human Services.

Jessica is originally from Ankeny, Iowa – a suburb of Des Moines although she was raised in a military family and spent the majority of her childhood in Virginia, where her father was stationed in the Navy. In her personal time, Jessica is very active in her local church and enjoys serving her community through various activities such as; being a mentor to high school students, college students and young adult women, volunteering weekly at church, serving meals to homeless, and volunteering to help distribute toys to children in need. She enjoys international travel and serving with an international prison ministry team. She also enjoys being outdoors, hiking, cycling, and traveling.

Vicki Randall

Vicki Randall
Clinic Manager

Vicki Randall became the Clinic Manager of the VHA Outpatient Clinic in Manila, Philippines on July 15, 2012. Ms. Randall began her VA career in January 2000.

Prior to her appointment in Manila, Ms. Randall served as the Health Systems Specialist to the Chief of Staff at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center from July 2005 to July 2012. In 2010, the Medical Center Director expanded her duties and detailed Ms. Randall to serve as a contract liaison between VISN, local contracting staff and medical center leadership. She was responsible for analyzing requests for medical center contracts, leases, services, supplies, contract nursing homes, and community based outpatient clinics. Additional responsibilities included the transition of contracts to FTE and she identified opportunities to reduce cost of emergency equipment purchases, services and repairs. From January 2000 to July 2005, she served as the Education Coordinator where she developed the first education program for the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center. She chaired the VISN 16 Education Committee, assisted in the development of the Emerging VA Leadership Program (EVAL), the Leadership Development Institute (LDI) and VISN 16 Cornerstone Supervisory Training programs. She has chaired numerous local, regional and national committees. She has led multiple special projects, served as Acting Chief Logistics Officer, Acting Associate Director and Acting Medical Center Director.

Prior to joining the VA, she served as Director of Academic and Student Services at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Ms. Randall earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration from Oklahoma City University and a Master's in Education in Adult and Higher Education Administration from the University of Oklahoma.

Ms. Randall is married, has three children and five grandchildren. She resides with her husband Rick in Makati City, Philippines.

Christopher Warguez

Christopher Warguez
Support Services Division Chief (Acting)

Christopher Warguez began his career with the Salt Lake City VA Medical Center in 2002 as a psychology technician. In 2005, he began working for the Salt Lake City VA Regional Office as a Veterans Service Representative where he served on all claims processing teams. In 2007, Mr. Warguez served as a Rating Veterans Service Representative. In 2008, he was promoted to an Assistant Coach and served with the pre-determination team. In 2009, Mr. Warguez was promoted to Coach of the triage, public contact, and files team. He was named Assistant Veterans Service Manager for the Manila VA Regional Office in November 2010.

Mr. Warguez served as the Manila Regional Office Acting Veterans Service Center Manager from July 2014 to June 2015, responsible for 78 employees and managing $16 million in monthly benefits. He has also served as Acting Director for three months, and is currently the Acting Support Services and Logistics Division Chief, responsible for both VBA and VHA divisions with a $23 million operational budget.

Mr. Warguez is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area. His wife Mindy and four children enjoy the outdoors and love to scuba dive, ski, hike, mountain bike, run, and go camping.