As everyone is grappling the challenges of this health crisis, organizations have a daunting task in ensuring that their stakeholders are well informed apart from maintaining expected work productivity; and this has been ensured by the Philippine Accreditation Bureau – Management System Accreditation Division (PAB-MSAD).

On 14 October 2020, PAB-MSAD brought together its stakeholders for their first virtual forum. It was joined by Certification Bodies (CBs), Management System Advisory Committees (MSAC) and PAB Council Members who are involved in providing guidance to PAB in carrying out its accreditation functions.

Undersectary Rafaelita M. Aldaba of DTI’s Competitiveness and Innovation Group (CIG) highlighted the need to adopt certification and accreditation standards as technology progresses and products and services are being developed.

As we develop new products and services and adopt new technologies, compliance with local and international standards would be crucial. Certification bodies need to prepare and align their systems with the emergence of new technologies arising from the 4th industrial revolution along with the future needs of the industries”, says Usec. Aldaba.

The forum was composed of leaders in different fields. Ms. Estrella R. Pilipiña on her topic, “Project PAB-MSAD Accreditation Footprints” shows how PAB maintains its technical capabilities in serving its certification bodies while complying with international commitments. She stressed the important contribution of accreditation bodies like PAB in fulfilling their obligation to provide competent peer evaluators. PAB being committed to this obligation is now able to send out trained internal evaluators to the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) to help in assessing other foreign accreditation bodies.

The head of PAB- MSAD, Ms. Ma. Juanita P. Carpio discussed their efforts in coping up with the policies, restrictions, guidelines and prescribed work arrangements in response to the pandemic. She also touched on the international commitments of PAB to ASEAN, International Accreditation Forum (IAF), Asia-Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) and the International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF).

More importantly, her presentation also included PAB’s implementation of ISO/IEC 17011:2017 – the standards followed by accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies. She mentioned that PAB has adopted remote assessment, while on-site assessment is deferred until safety is guaranteed.

Ms. Japhet T. Celis of the PAB – Promotion and Documentation Division (PDD), cited the progress of PAB’s promotional activities targeting the regulatory bodies. There are already a number of government agencies in the Philippines that acknowledge the value of accredited conformity assessment services in performing their functions, such as DOST, DOE, DBM, and FDA. PAB is in talks with other government agencies in finalizing some memorandum of agreements to incorporate PAB’s accreditation on their existing policies.

Atty. Raizon Arobinto of DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau, presented the “Philippine Halal and Export Development Plan” as well as opportunities in this sector. It was mentioned that, developing a reliable halal infrastructure in the country would help in improving the country’s position in the local and international halal markets.

Ms. Anne M. Fernando of DTI’s Bureau of Philippine Standards discussed the topic on, “Standardization in the Light of Covid-19 Pandemic”. She informed everyone about the list of Philippine-adopted standards, standards being developed and standards that are yet to be revised in accordance with the ever-changing needs of the industries.

With the expected PAB accreditation scheme for Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), PAB – MSAD invited Ms. Monica Bonfanti from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to talk about the “Greenhouse Gas (GHG) verification in Aviation: Overview of the EASA Project.”

According to Ms. Bonfanti, the EU-South East Asia Cooperation on Mitigating Climate Change impact from Civil Aviation (EU-SEA CCCA) CORSIA project, “enhances political, economic and environmental partnership between the EU and partner countries in South East Asia in the areas of civil aviation environmental protection and climate change.”

PAB as one of the main actors of the CORSIA system, will be supported by the project in order to scale up its commitments. The bureau will be involved in the training of tackling offsetting — the new accreditation requirements to comply with the offsetting part of CORSIA. Further, PAB will also benefit from the training on follow- up to GHG ISO 14065, to be aligned with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO requirements).

PAB Dir. James E. Empeño wrapped up the updates reiterating PAB’s commitment for improvement and fairness in delivering its services. He also informed the participants on the bureau’s accomplishments and future directions like the continuing adoption of remote assessments, webinars, addition to internationally recognized schemes and further collaboration with both government and private sectors to further the acceptance and recognition of accreditation and accredited conformity assessment services.

Admittedly, it has been a bumpy road for every organization with the ongoing crisis. COVID-19 has trigged organizations like PAB to adapt to the “new normal” and digitalization at an unprecedented pace. The forum showcased how an organization can share information to its stakeholders, develop policies or offer services remotely to ensure uninterrupted government or private services.

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Release Date: 21 October 2020