The Department of Trade and Industry – Philippine Accreditation Bureau (DTI-PAB), Department of Health (DOH), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sealed the deal to harmonize accreditation and conformity assessment functions through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

On 17 November 2021, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, DOH Undersecretary Charade B. Mercado-Grande, representing Secretary Francisco Duque III, and FDA Director General Rolando Enrique D. Domingo, simultaneously signed the agreement that would streamline the processes among PAB, the agencies under DOH, and FDA that are involved in the conformity assessments for laboratories, inspection bodies and similar organizations.

Present to witness the momentous event are DTI-Competitiveness and Innovation Group (CIG) Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba, DTI-CIG Assistant Secretary Napoleon K. Juanillo Jr., DTI-PAB Director James E. Empeño, PAB Asst. Dir. Ernani M. Dionisio, other PAB personnel, and PAB Council Secretariat. 

Secretary Lopez believes that the MOA would help the stakeholders to be more compliant to regulators by eliminating redundant process among the three agencies.

“It is our hope that in harmonizing our departments’ services, reducing redundant processes, and specifying our roles and mandates, this MOA will help our clientele better comply with regulations,” Sec. Lopez said during his remarks.  

The adherence of conformity assessment bodies like medical testing laboratories to both regulatory requirements and international standards is seen not only to improve compliance and rationalize regulations, but ultimately improve the overall quality infrastructure of the country.

Secretary Duque expressed his support in this undertaking through his message delivered by Usec. Mercado-Grande on his behalf.

The DOH highly supports this policy decision in recognition of the value of harmonizing our functions to avoid potentially duplicitous steps in the accreditation and assessment procedures. We are all for smooth, efficient, and expeditious extension of all our services.”  

Director General Domingo extended his appreciation and highlighted that the agreement would immensely help FDA’s clients to easily comply with requirements once processes are smoothened out.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved various limitations in terms of full-service capacity, we recognize these limitations and each collaboration from agencies and institutions is a welcome opportunity to escalate the potential to provide our stakeholders with harmonized and streamlined regulatory services,” said Dir. Gen. Domingo.

He also mentioned that PAB continuously assists FDA in establishing measures of conformity to standards and in accrediting establishments that are beyond their current regulatory capacity, including testing of medical devices, calibration of radiologic devices, and accreditation of radiologic facilities.  

“It is with anticipation that this endeavor shall move forward even more and strengthen our strategies to fully serve our clients. I believe that we have reached a very good place and a common stance to provide standard and quality services to our stakeholders and to protect our consumers,” added Dir. Gen. Domingo.

Posing with the newly-signed Memorandum of Agreement are DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, DOH Undersecretary Charade B. Mercado-Grande (representing Secretary Francisco Duque III), and FDA Director General Rolando Enrique D. Domingo.
DTI-CIG Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba, DTI-CIG Napoleon K. Juanillo Jr., and PAB Officials: Dir. James E. Empeño, Asst. Dir. Ernani M. Dionisio and Ms. Ma. Juanita P. Carpio joined the signatories in a photo-op in commemoration of the finalization of the MOA.

On her closing message, DTI-CIG Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba looked back on the rigid process of crafting the agreement which she said is worth the wait. For those who are not aware, the initial discussion for the MOA started in October 2018, which effectively took 3 years to complete.

According to Usec. Aldaba, “…the MOA symbolizes the commitment of government agencies to work in unity to ensure the delivery of quality services specifically of our health sector which is one of the most important and proactive sectors in this pandemic time.”

She reiterated the significance of the MOA in harmonizing and complementing each agency’s conformity assessment activities. She thanked all the agencies involved and expressed hope for the momentous event to be a catalyst that would overcome the hurdles and reach or  even surpass the standards of quality in our services.

The MOA is the first agreement to be enforced by the DTI-PAB and its council members from other government agencies. The PAB Council is chaired by DTI with members composed of 7 government agencies namely: Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Energy, and Department of National Defense. The 3 members from the private sector are appointed by the President from any of following: Trade or Industry Association, Quality and Safety Foundation, Philippine Exporter’s Confederation, Professional Association, or the Academe.

This memorandum of agreement is expected to pave the way for more partnerships with other regulatory agencies as we are working on strengthening our National Quality Infrastructure (NQI).

Release Date: 22 November 2021