With the implementation of ISO 9001:2015 quality assurance standards in the DOST Biosafety Committee (DOST-BC), the process for approval of applications for contained use of GMOs is streamlined to facilitate the decision-making process.
In June 2018, the Department of Science and Technology – Central Office (DOST-CO) has been awarded ISO certification. The processing of application for the conduct of research involving GMOs under contained use of the DOST-BC is one of the frontline services of the DOST included in the DOST-CO’s scope for ISO certification. The DOST-BC set a Quality Objective to ensure that 100% of the received proposals are reviewed, evaluated, and results are released within 60 working days.
With this, it was made easier for researchers and proponents to track the progress of their submission and anticipate when the final decision will be made. In addition, the administrative concerns were easily identified and provided opportunity to address such concerns by putting in place appropriate measures.
As of the 3rd quarter of 2019, the DOST-BC processed four (4) proposals involving Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) under containment. The proposals were reviewed in accordance with the criteria indicated in the Philippine Biosafety Guidelines for contained use of GMOs, revised edition 2014.Following the process, the number of days of processing the proposals runs to an average of seventeen (17) to twenty (20) days.
In March 2019, the AJA Registrars conducted a surveillance audit of the DOST-CO Quality Management System (QMS) along with its frontline services. There were no findings of non-conformity in the approval process. Nevertheless, suggestion was made to improve one of the forms used in submitting proposal, which the Secretariat immediately carried out. Overall, the DOST-BC was found compliant to the standards set by ISO 9001: 2015. The DOST-BC shall continue to adhere to the ISO principles and standards to facilitate the decision-making process.