Marketing a unique type of commodity like accreditation poses a challenge, especially for economies with fragmented national quality infrastructure. For a government accreditation body like the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), marketing accreditation becomes more difficult as it is not the usual public goods like education, health and defense with easily discernible benefits to all members of society.
Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) are sometimes unconvinced on the significance of accreditation because of the lack of evidence on its benefits in helping them become competent. Some argue that the cost of accreditation is relatively high and organizations could simply follow regulations on safety to be able to operate. Being voluntary, accreditation is seen as an optional requirement for CABs although they understand that it underpins their competence, transparency, integrity, impartiality and consistency in doing their jobs.
PAB has been trying to gain an inroad in making a paradigm shift in promoting accredited conformity assessment services to instil quality assurance in industries in its promotional activities since 2016. It has been producing informational materials like brochures, leaflets and posters to help in its campaigns. The bureau’s website serves as a platform for information dissemination and a medium of advertising. PAB was featured in the 6th issue of the Food Safety Trends Philippines Magazine, a publication that provides science-based solutions for ensuring food safety and quality to professionals in the food sector.
PAB seeks better ways of informing the general public by creating easily understandable content to explain the technical side of accreditation and conformity assessment. It takes sustained effort to understand the accreditation marketplace and determine the needs of conformity assessment consumers.
Another hurdle in marketing accreditation is financial constraint. Generally, the core process of accrediting CABs gets the bulk of financial resources, leaving little for promotions. By networking and partnering with stakeholders, private sectors and other government agencies in mounting promotional activities, PAB reaches out to more sectors and areas in disseminating the benefits of accreditation. PAB has been collaborating with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to make use of their Webinar and Technology Channel to showcase its accreditation services and provide overviews of ISO standards. To further widen the geographical reach, PAB employs live video streaming through social media during events.
Yearly, PAB-PDD adds new schemes to its offerings. For the past two years, promotional efforts focused on accreditation schemes for medical laboratories testing (ISO 15189) and food safety (ISO/IEC 22000, HACCP). In 2019, PAB will cover Halal certification (ISO/IEC 17065) and environmental management system certification (ISO 14001). PAB will continue to create awareness to help industries strengthen their global competitiveness using internationally-accepted standards.
Lastly, international recognition for accreditation schemes offered by accreditation bodies leads to acceptance of test results and certificates issued by accredited CABs by fellow signatories to mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) and multilateral recognition arrangements (MLAs). Exporters help in driving the demand for accredited conformity assessment services if they can overcome technical barriers to trade posed by retesting or recertification that importing countries may require. Being under the umbrella of the national government provides an edge to make recognition arrangements among regulatory bodies, whether local and foreign, imperative by the nature of their relationship. Moreover, government-to-government recognition is facilitated if a government entity like PAB represents the country in an international accreditation arrangement.
PAB continues to make its accreditation offerings responsive and relevant to the evolving needs of the various stakeholders. Through accredited conformity assessment, we make the world a better and safer place. For more information, please visit www.pabaccreditation.gov.ph.