On August 7, 2023, the Department of Trade and Industry – Philippine Accreditation Bureau (DTI-PAB) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Office of Dr. Mercedita A. Sombilla, Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and Regulations, met with various offices and bureaus of DA. The primary objective of the meeting was to explore potential collaborations with DA offices involved in conformity assessment functions or those utilizing conformity assessment services.

The dialogue with DA was one of the agreements reached during the 19th PAB Council meeting on March 20, 2023. DA, and the other council members, namely: DOST, DOH, DENR, DPWH, DOE, DND, and representatives from the private sector, expressed a unanimous voice on the necessity to harmonize conformity functions among regulators. In line with this, DA, through the council, was requested to coordinate with its relevant agencies to hold a meeting with DTI-PAB.

The proposed agenda aimed to introduce DTI-PAB as the national accreditation body of the Philippines, elucidate its role in conformity assessment activities related to the agriculture and fishery sector (including accreditation, certification, and laboratory testing), and explore potential collaboration and partnership opportunities between DTI-PAB and DA in the realm of accreditation and conformity assessment.

Dr. Karen Kristine A. Roscom, Director of the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS), led the discussion and expressed support for the proposed collaboration. She is positive that the proposed partnership would strengthen DA’s conformity assessment efforts, contributing to the agency’s commitment to ensuring food safety and security and effective regulatory functions.

PAB Assistant Director Ernani M. Dionisio emphasized that governments are either utilizing services from accredited facilities or conduct their own conformity assessments in carrying out their mandates. Through accreditation, governments are afforded with added assurance in the quality of procured goods and services, as they undergo verification by an independent body. Governments may also have their own laboratories, inspection procedures, and certification systems; having accreditation for these services will provide their clients, the public, and other stakeholders with added confidence that their own conformity assessment capabilities are officially recognized for technical competence.

While specific details of this partnership are still being finalized, the hope is that this collaboration will encompass an inventory of DA’s Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) such as their testing laboratories, inspection bodies, certification bodies and the like; potential applications for accreditation of DA CABs; recognition of PAB-accredited CABs; use of accredited CABs; knowledge sharing; and provision of technical experts during assessments.

With the support of its council, DTI-PAB will continue to reach out to other government agencies to streamline conformity assessment requirements and activities, improve compliance, and enhance the quality standards in the country. To learn more about the current initiatives and activities of the Philippine Accreditation Bureau, please visit its website: www.dti.gov.ph/pab. You can also contact them via email at pab@dti.gov.ph.

Release Date: 09 August 2023.