By: Katherine Aprille S. Dula, DOST PSTC-Palawan
       Engr. Pacifico T. Sariego III, DOST PSTC-Palawan
      Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office

DOST MIMAROPA RSTL staff with Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) and technical assessors during the initial assessment for ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation conducted last December 7-9, 2016 at DOST MIMAROPA RSTL, Puerto Princesa City

Satisfying the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Standards and Testing Laboratory (RSTL), through the efforts of the DOST-MIMAROPA RSTL staff led by Engr. Pacifico T. Sariego III and the unwavering guidance and support of its Regional Director, Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay, received the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation last June 30, 2017.

ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation is the international standard for testing laboratory quality system and is the single most important standard for laboratory testing and analysis and calibration around the world. According to the ISO, being awarded with this accreditation means that the laboratory conforms to the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standards for laboratories which validates the competence of the RSTL to conduct tests and/or calibrations using standard methods, non-standard methods, and laboratory-developed methods. Laboratories awarded this accreditation have proven that they are technically competent and can produce precise and accurate calibration data. This accreditation also indicates that the certificates issued by the laboratory are internationally accepted.

Accreditation numbers for microbiology and calibration laboratories, are LA-2017-306A and LA-2017-307A, respectively. Scopes accredited for the biological laboratory include heterotrophic plate count, total and fecal coliform for water including effluents. On the other hand, the metrology laboratory is accredited for the calibration of precision laboratory balances.

DOST-MIMAROPA RSTL was established in 2013 and is considered the youngest in the DOST system. It is located at the DOST Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) Palawan Compound, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Since its establishment, the RSTL has aligned its processes to the standards set by ISO 17025. The laboratory started with two laboratory divisions, the metrology and microbiology laboratories, with the assistance of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Research and Development (PCIEERD) funded projects. The metrology laboratory offers calibration for mass and volume while the microbiology laboratory offers tests for water and wastewater, and parameters for food. In 2016, the physico-chemical laboratory has started its operations offering physico-chemical tests for water and wastewater. Clients served by the RSTL include local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), local government units, and student researchers.

Now that it is an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, the DOST-MIMAROPA RSTL is now working on acquiring accreditation from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Health (DOH).