The Philippines continues to be one of the rising economies in Asia. And with the current setup in the world economy where goods and services is the name of the game, constant growth and development of a culture of quality should be of national importance. Not only does it improve the standard of products in the country, it also opens the door for local manufacturers to export their products to foreign markets.
Quality should always be a top priority for Philippine products if the country wants to be as competitive as its neighbouring nations. Technology and globalization have brought about a boom in exchange of products between countries prompting for a more focused approach on the importance of product quality. Local manufacturers should also consider the possibility of penetrating outside markets especially in the age of online selling.
To assist the country and promote trade investment for further economic development, the European Union expands its support to the Philippines through the continuation of the Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) Project. The aid, composed of six (6) interlinked components, aims to support the country’s integration into the regional and international investment systems through policy and legislative reforms; procedural and technical improvements; capacity development; and also contribute to the increase in exports as a building block for job creation and poverty reduction.
While the country’s manufacturing sector is more than capable of producing quality goods and services, there is still room for improvement. Industries must be able to develop more competitive products to take advantage of the increasing trade flow between economies.
For small nations like the Philippines to take the challenge of international trade, a unified national system of quality infrastructure must be put into place to enable access to these markets. This strategy is essential for companies to implement recognized best practices, access to foreign markets, develop ways of cost effective production and the overall standard of quality. Companies may not be able to maximize their true potential without a well-organized quality infrastructure to help them compete in the domestic and global markets.
DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Teodoro C. Pascua explains, “The development of a National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) is a welcome progress in improving the quality of the products and services produced in the country and ensuring the safety of consumers. It is a significant step towards meeting the demands of global trade and keeping up with the economic reforms being instituted by our neighboring countries.”
Working towards a progressive development is not an overnight achievement as it requires a constant and coordinated effort among government, stakeholders, and private sectors purposely to create a unifying NQI.
As the lead government agency, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) spearheads the country’s drive towards a Philippines’ NQI. The Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) and the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) of the DTI-CPG are the beneficiaries of the European Union’s assistance.
Tasked to be the focal groups for the creation of the new system, BPS and PAB bring together the NQI components of standardization, accreditation and metrology of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to help Philippine industries show proof of compliance with requirements to facilitate trade and increase competitiveness.
Through the EU-PH Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) Project 3, Key Experts (KEs) and Short Term Experts (STEs) conducted various studies to assess existing systems and procedures and identify areas of reforms. NQI sessions and advocacy programs were developed and implemented to raise awareness on NQI benefits to stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
“The NQI does not only facilitate trade by showing proof of compliance from internationally accredited laboratories, it also elevates the level of competitiveness and enhances economic trade between the Philippines and other nations. With a national quality infrastructure system, we can now focus on developing standards for key economic sectors,” BPS Officer-in-Charge Atty. Marimel D. Porciuncula emphasizes.
The most significant step, however, is the establishment of a legal framework to support the authorities in ensuring consumer protection and increase competitiveness of products and services. A DTI-CPG Technical Working Group (TWG) was created consisting of key officials from BPS, PAB, Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) and other DTI-related offices to work on a draft National Quality Law. Inputs from DOST’s National Metrology Division as well as observations/recommendations of KEs and STEs were reviewed and considered in the preparation of the draft law.
The draft NQI law specifies DTI as the primary coordinative, promotive and facilitative arm of the government in the area of trade, industry and investments while the DOST to continually review the needs of science and technology in the context of the country’s developmental goals. The draft law aims to elevate the quality culture as a national value to support the achievement of global competitiveness and raise the quality of life by integrating and coordinating policies and programs involving standardization, accreditation and metrology, the three (3) pillars of NQI, to meet quality requirements for products and services in compliance with international commitments.
The National Quality Infrastructure Act or Senate Bill 707 sponsored by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, IV was filed last 20 July 2016 on the first regular session of the 17th Congress and had its first reading last 10 August 2016.
“We may face numerous roadblocks in establishing the Philippines’ NQI but we are confident that the government and the private sector can work together and address domestic demands for increased consumer welfare and protection, and demands related to trade and competitiveness. With this law, we aim to strengthen the NQI main pillars – standardization, accreditation and metrology- to heighten consumer trust and to increase production quality of products and services,” Usec. Pascua added.Creating an environment where institutions follow a unified system of activities on quality will secure the country’s competitiveness in the global market. The formalization of the Philippines’ NQI not only gives sectors the ability to expand their businesses but also helps the country in establishing an image of quality and compliance with the requirements of national and international clients.
Department of Trade and Industry - Bureau of Philippine Standards 3/F Trade and Industry Building
361 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City Philippines 1200, Telephone: (632) 751-4700 Fax: (632) 751-4706