With guidelines on the resumption and/or continued operations of establishments, including those under the food service gradually ease for areas under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified GCQ, the Department of Trade and Industry – MIMAROPA, partnered with SGS Philippines, Inc. in conducting a webinar on Understanding Biosecurity and Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Determining Controls (HIRADC) in Food Service, on July 23, 2020, via Microsoft Teams.

The webinar is one of the lined-up activities of the region in celebration of the 2020 National MSME Week, with the theme MSME’s Resilience to Recovery.

Representatives from the SGS Philippines, Inc. filled the one-day webinar with comprehensive discussions on Biosafety and HIRADC. Ms. Jessica Pusod, Food Technologist, Registered Chemical Technician, Technical Sales Specialist, discussed the Covid-19 Impact to the Industry and Consumers and Updates on LGU and new government regulation related to Hotel and/or Food Service Operations. Meanwhile Mr. Ronnel Mesario, Auditor, Quality Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) Manager discussed Hazard Indentification, Risk Assessment and Determining Controls (HIRADC), and its practical application. Lastly, Ms Danica De Guzman, Food Technologist, Operations Executive handling audit and inspection services, discussed Biosecurity Protocols, and best practices of different food service establishments as a response to the current pandemic.

Additionally, the webinar aimed to tackle risk level and controls in times of pandemic not limited to the Covid-19, to hopefully increase client’s confidence in resuming operation. The webinar is also one of the several activities of the region as a response to the “New Normal”.

Around 82 individuals participated in the webinar, composed of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the food service and retailer sector, and DTI representatives. Of the recorded participants, 6 of the MSMEs are from Marinduque, two MSMEs from Occidental Mindoro, 11 MSMEs from Oriental Mindoro, 15 MSMEs from Palawan, 5 from Romblon, and two MSMEs from outside MIMAROPA, one belongs to the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organization (ARBO) from Marinduque, and four ARBOs from Romblon. Ms. Karen Tamar of the OTOP PMO also attended the webinar. Furthermore, 5 participants came from the DTI MIMAROPA Regional Office, two from DTI Marinduque, three from DTI Occidental Mindoro, two from DTI Oriental Mindoro, one from DTI Palawan, 5 from DTI Romblon, 6 from DTI CARP NPO, two from DTI CALABARZON, one from DTI Catanduanes, and two joining all the way from DTI Region 12. Thus, the webinar was designed to provide a platform for a wider audience, even outside the MIMAROPA region, taking into account the urgency of the matters discussed for entrepreneurs, which they may replicate back to their respective offices, MSME clients, and ARBOs.

DTI MIMAROPA Regional Director (RD) Joel B. Valera graced the webinar, together with Assistant Regional Director Rodolfo J. Mariposque, Marinduque Provincial Director Roniel M. Macatol, Occidental Mindoro Provincial Director Ferdinand Aparri, Oriental Mindoro Provincial Director Arnel E. Hutalla, and Romblon Provincial Director Noel DR. Flores. In his opening remarks, RD Valera stressed out the importance of the webinar in addressing the existing circumstances faced by the MSMEs, and how committed the Department is in assisting them towards recovery.

Moreover, DTI MIMAROPA Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Rodolfo J. Mariposque, in his closing remarks, highlighted the continuous support of the Department through these activities and projects. In an earlier portion of the program, ARD Mariposque also shared the on-going efforts of the region on E-Commerce.

Participants, both from the MSMEs and DTI were active during the question and answer, manifesting the significance of the webinar, especially in today’s setting. By the end of the one-day session, participants expressed their appreciation and gratitude towards the organizers. One of the MSME participants from MIMAROPA stressed out the timeliness of such webinar as they were on the process of resuming their business operations.

SGS Philippines, Inc., through its SGS KAAGAPAY MSME Program, has partnered with DTI MIMAROPA in equipping MSMEs in the food sector with the necessary knowledge in assessing risk and biosecurity protocols fit to their respective businesses. SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. They have been the partner of DTI in testing requirements for FDA application and equipping MSMEs in MIMAROPA through trainings and workshops.♦

Date of Release: 27 July 2020