Virtual 4th National Conference of Chemical Laboratories Successfully Held

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) succesfully hosted the 4th National Conference of Chemical Laboratories (NCCL) last 23-25 November 2020 with the theme “New Normal, New Solutions”. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 4th edition of the NCCL was held virtually for the first time via Cisco Webex. Over a thousand participants from various parts of the country and even from other parts of the world seized the opportunity to attend the virtual conference to update themselves of the latest news and regulations regarding the practice of the chemistry profession in the Philippines. ICP President Dr Fabian Dayrit, in his opening remarks, warmly welcomed the participants and stressed the important service chemical laboratories provide despite the pandemic.

The conference started off with the major feature and much anticipated portion of the NCCL: a meeting and discussion between the Board of Chemistry (BOC) and representatives of chemical laboratories. Dr Soledad Castaneda updated the audience regarding the country’s career progression and specialization program for chemistry professionals. Meanwhile, Dr Adoracion Resurreccion gave an update on the continuing professional development. And lastly, Ms Theresa Cayton presented the status of inspection of chemical laboratories that the BOC conducted this past year. After a lunch gap, Dr Annabelle Briones (Industrial Technology Development Institute, Department of Science and Technology, DOST) talked on OneLab, a network of DOST-affiliated laboratories. Ms Rose Mylene Sotocinal (Department of Health, DOH) explained the new DOH guidelines on the accreditation of laboratories that conduct drinking water analysis. To end the 4th NCCL’s first day, Dr Bonifacio Magtibay (Regional Office for Western Pacific, World Health Organization, WHO) gave a talk on the WHO’s guidelines on the preparation of disinfectants.

The second day started off with twin updates from the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Mr Marlon Macadamia (PAB) announced that PAB would be conducting remote assessment of chemical laboratories to addess the physical distancing guidelines during this pandemic. Meanwhile, Mr Roger Evangelista (EMB) informed the participants regarding the latest news on EMB’s efforts to minimize waste and the procedures that the laboratories must take in order for their generated waste to be properly disposed of. Live and direct from Singapore, Ms Wee Siew Moi (Nestle Singapore) gave a lecture on the latest techniques in detecting chemical contaminants present in the environment and food. Meanwhile, Major Carmelo Velasco (Philippine National Police) provided the latest news regarding the sale and use of explosives, and Ms Judy Olvido (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) tackled on regulations on essential and precursor chemicals.

The highlight of this year’s NCCL was the sharing of best practices of chemical laboratories in the new normal, conducted on the third and final day. Mr Alvin Basco (Ostrea Laboratories), Ms Maria Carmela Capule (CRL Environmental Corporation), and Ms Edna Mijares (Jefcor Laboratories) provided their respective laboratories’ stringent measures in implementing distancing regulations while at work and their protocols in how to handle COVID-19 positive individuals while at work.

In her closing remarks, ICP Vice-President for External Affairs Ms Edna Mijares underscored the utmost cooperation of each chemistry professional and their collective role in improving the state of the country’s chemistry profession as we all safely navigate through this pandemic and embark on a new normal.

Now on its fourth year, the NCCL aims to provide chemistry professionals the relevant updates on various chemical regulations and be a venue for sharing best practices among professionals and laboratories.

Posted in News.