Pushing for the establishment of a National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) is a jumping-off point toward a more competitive Philippines, Trade Undersecretary for Consumer
Protection Atty. Teodoro C. Pascua underscored in a forum with NQI stakeholders.
Known for his active involvement in developing NQI in the country, Undersecretary Atty. Pascua participated in the 1st National Forum on NQI that the Philippine Metrology,
Standards, Testing and Quality (PhilMSTQ) Inc. and Department of Trade and Industry’s Competitiveness Bureau (DTI-CB) spearheaded last 22 September 2017.
“The DTI supports a responsive and sustainable quality infrastructure in the Philippines. With NQI in place, we ramp up the country’s global competitiveness,” said
Undersecretary Atty. Pascua.
NQI, as defined by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), is the totality of the policy, legal, regulatory, and administrative frameworks and the
institutional arrangements required to establish and implement standardization, metrology, accreditation and conformity assessment services necessary to provide acceptable evidence that products and services meet defined requirements, demanded either by authorities or the marketplace.”
The main pillars of an NQI, which the country needs to focus on, are Standardization, Accreditation, and Metrology.
Undersecretary Atty. Pascua affirmed, “Paying keen attention to these pillars boosts the competitiveness of industries, as well as, ensures safe and quality products and
services, allowing the Philippines to access international markets and guaranteeing adequate protection of consumers’ safety and health.”
He further elaborated his point by citing the four (4) benefits of NQI according to the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), namely, regulatory quality or ease of doing
business, trade facilitation, industry development or competitiveness, and consumer protection.
“Tariffs have been tremendously reduced, but the challenge for us now is to address the non-tariff measures that our traders face, specifically differing product standards,
technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures between and among countries. In this connection, we have to understand that products and services that do
not meet the requirements of the market would make it difficult and even impossible for our country to export. This is where the NQI components play a vital role,” Undersecretary Atty. Pascua explained.
Meanwhile, there are three (3) priority initiatives or programs for NQI this year. These are to review and push for the passage of NQI Bill, develop the NQI policy and
development plan, and promote NQI to businesses and industries.
To date, a draft NQI Bill, NQI policy, and NQI framework have been accomplished. Senate Bill No. 707 or the National Infrastructure Act has been submitted for the
legislative bodies’ consideration. The bill seeks to improve the quality of regulatory services provided by the government to its citizens and the private sector to facilitate
transactions with the government, hasten regulatory approvals for the release and sale of goods and services into the markets, and ascertain protection of consumers from
trade malpractices and substandard or hazardous products.
The NQI policy seeks to implement and realize the establishment of a world-class standardization, accreditation, metrology, and conformity assessment infrastructure and
application of its techniques, practices, and services to ensure strict and unwavering compliance with international standards.
The NQI framework, on the other hand, is geared towards developing a well coordinated, effective, and internationally recognized NQI and technical regulation.
Undersecretary Atty. Pascua then enjoined the stakeholders and private sector to assist and support the Government in building a functional NQI.
“All of us in this forum have a special role to play, and thus, may we never tire aiming for a more competitive and more prosperous Philippines for the benefit of the citizenry,
especially the future generations to come,” he told other guests and participants.