DOST-MIMAROPA RSTL NOW OFFERS TESTING AND CALIBRATION SERVICES IN SUPPORT TO MICRO, SMALL, AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES

Facade of the DOST-MIMAROPA RSTL- Microbiology Laboratory which was established in September 2013 is the first service laboratory for MSMEs in the region

The Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA) through the Regional Standards and Testing Laboratory (RSTL) now plays an active role in supplying professional services needed to help ensure water and food safety and quality—from detection and identification of waterborne and foodborne pathogens to guaranteeing that food products of MSMEs meet local, national, and international standards.

DOST-MIMAROPA RSTL housed in the Provincial Science and Technology Center-Palawan (PSTC-Palawan) in Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City, is organized into three laboratory divisions—the Microbiology Laboratory, Metrology Laboratory, and Physico-Chemical Laboratory. The RSTL’s mission is to perform testing and analysis of products to ensure that these are ready to be introduced to a market with assurance to quality standards, compliance to regulations, and consumer protection.

Aside from its state-of-the-art facility, DOST-MIMAROPA RSTL is also equipped with cutting-edge technologies to handle the testing and calibration needs of the customer as well as offers a wide array of testing services for water, wastewater, food, and food products. Some of the services include Potability and Bacteriology Tests in the microbiology lab; Calibration of Trailer, Vehicle Tank, and Proving Tank in the metrology lab; and Total Suspended Solids, Oil and Grease, and Metals Analyses in the physico-chemical laboratory. These tests are important to increase consumer confidence in products and minimize the risk of contamination to protect human health.

The services of the RSTL since it opened its doors in 2013 have steadily increased as many clients from the food industry and academe continue to send samples for testing and analysis. Since opening and as of September 2016, the MIMAROPA RSTL conducted 457 tests and calibration services.

DOST-MIMAROPA RSTL also offers one special service which allows laboratory-to-laboratory referrals. Called the One Stop Shop Laboratory Services for Global Competitiveness (OneLab), clients may now avail of laboratory services of RSTLs of other DOST Regional Offices as well as of DOST Research and Development Institutes (RDIs) that are not offered at the MIMAROPA RSTL. Through the ONELAB’s referral system, samples will be brought to the nearest laboratory and complete its testing requirements. The customers may claim their results through email or pick it up personally in the DOST-MIMAROPA RSTL. It uses the ONELAB Unified Laboratory Information Management System (ULIMS) for easy online access to laboratory services and referrals. Through the ONELAB customer portal module (web.onelab.ph), customers can easily access or overview the tests offered by DOST-RSTLs and RDIs along with the corresponding fees for each test and type of sample. In this regard, more customers will be catered and be guaranteed of timely, value-added laboratory services.

Recognizing the importance of a quality management system that is internationally acceptable and to ensure customers that the RSTL staff is technically competent and able to generate valid results, the laboratory has already applied for ISO 17025 accreditation. The laboratory assessment for the MIMAROPA RSTL is set to happen on November 2016. Also, promotional activities are being conducted to be able to provide understanding to clients especially the MSMEs on the value of laboratory testing and encourage them to avail of the laboratory services so as to improve their competitiveness in the market.