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Government set to allot P18M for the regulation and control on the operations of all Soil Labs in PH

By Loraine D. Cerillo - Project Development Officer II
April 18, 2016

The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Soil and Water Management (DA-BSWM) proposes at least 18M budget to strengthen the framework for the regulation and control of all soil laboratory establishments and operation in the Philippines under PD 1435, authorizing the BSWM as the lead agency to perform tasks pursuant to the law.

BSWM Director Silvino Q. Tejada said that the BSWM for its part have initiated Tier II funding for the project implementation meant to fund the short and medium-term activities for the implementation of PD 1435.

"The BSWM as the leading mandated agency to implement PD 1435 is committed to capacitate all the Regional Soils Laboratories (RSL) to ready ourselves for this important undertaking which will be a close coordination between BSWM and RSLs," Tejada said.

The BSWM’s Laboratory Services Division (LSD) led by Dr. Gina P. Nilo guaranteed that LSD has developed and documented its quality control procedures, test methods, and equipment manuals and have been implementing ISO 17025 since April 13 last year. Furthermore, the BSWM laboratory has already acquired new set of laboratory equipment and is continuously committing itself in upgrading laboratory facilities in order to capacitate the BSWM to certify the applicants' competence to operate and establish a laboratory.

Under PD 1435, BSWM has to set and formulate comprehensive guidelines for the establishment of soil laboratories in the country, as well as, supervising and coordinating the technical operations of all private and government-operated soil laboratories. BSWM will also impose fees on private soil labs.

In the survey conducted during the first orientation and consultation meeting for PD 1435 implementation, attended by regional representatives island-wide at Apo View Hotel in Davao City, there are at least 19 laboratories owned and operated by private sectors and at least 29 government laboratories operating nationwide.

In addition to the Bureau's function on soil testing, it will provide recommendation for the appropriate use of fertilizers and methods to add up the intensification of food production and to proper identify soil amendments, fertilizers and inputs to sustain food production in the country.

Moreover, for accessible and efficient technological transfer and data utilization, the establishment of data banking system will also be implemented and put into operation.

The working Technical Evaluation Team (TET) is also responsible in drafting the IRR to be approved by the BSWM Director.

A second consultation meeting for the formulation of IRR of the technical working group is set to run on the month of June 2016 tentatively, to ensure smooth and efficient implementation of PD 1435.

"Measures and guidelines for the effective utilization of soil and water resources as vital agricultural means to attain food security is being formulated by the Bureau and this undertaking serves to provide policy development and perform regulatory functions to serve our farmers and all other stakeholders," Tejada added.

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