Upholding the Chemistry Profession One Chemical Laboratory at a Time

Maria Kristina Dabi
Staff at the Professional Regulation Commission

Back in 2018, I was asked by Dir. Atty. Maria Liza M. Hernandez to assist the Professional Regulatory Board of Chemistry composed of Hon. Adoracion P. Resurreccion, Hon. Soledad S. Castañeda, and Hon. Ma. Theresa C. Cayton in the inspection and monitoring of applicants for the Certificate of Authority to Operate Chemical Laboratory (CATO). It was the year when the grace period set by the Republic Act 10657, otherwise known as the Chemistry Profession Act, ended. That year, the Commission received a bulk of applications from all over the Philippines.

From 2018 to 2020, I had the honor of working closely with the Board of Chemistry, from determining the schedule of inspection and preparing its logistics to assisting the Board in the inspection and monitoring. Looking back, working with these outstanding, intelligent, caring, and inspiring women was a privilege. I have witnessed how the Board of Chemistry worked from the grassroots to ensure the maintenance of high professional, ethical, and technical standards and safeguard the welfare of its professionals.  

You may wonder, what is the importance of the Certificate of Authority to Operate Chemical Laboratories? Who will benefit from it? Why is it vital to secure such?

In 2017, to guarantee that establishments and institutions are adequately guided by this directive, the Board of Chemistry issued Resolution No. 02, or the “Rules and Regulations Implementing Section 35 of the Chemistry Profession Act on the Issuance of Certificates of Authority to Operate Chemical Laboratories and other Related Establishments.” In this resolution, the Board set standards that a chemical laboratory must meet to ensure that its employed Chemists and Chemical Technicians are competent and that their safety and well-being are taken care of.

Hon. Resurreccion and Hon. Cayton together with the Chemists of Petron Bataan in 2019.

There are eight criteria that the Board evaluates in a Chemical Laboratory, all these are based on the provisions in the Chemistry Law and its IRR. First, the Board checks for the sufficiency of the laboratory’s personal protective equipment and safety devices. Second, the Board inspects for adequacy of space, proper storage of chemicals, and proper waste disposal. The Board sees to it that the Chemists and Chemical Technicians know Their hazardous chemical wastes and advises them to look for ways to reduce them. The Board also recommends verifying and inspecting the 3rd party treaters to ensure that the chemical wastes the establishment or institution sent is appropriately handled and treated. The third measure the Board checks into is the adequacy of facilities and instruments used for chemical testing. The fourth standard is the availability of the Safety Manual and its proper communication to the employees. The Board also looks into the qualifications and skills of the professionals and sees to it that the head of the chemical laboratory is a registered chemist and that all its Chemists and Chemical Technicians are active members of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP). In addition, the Board also checks that the Chemist signs the Certificate of Analysis. The Board also looks into the professionals’ credentials and checks for the availability of their Certificate of Registration and updated Professional Identification Card. Lastly, the Board looks at the benefits provided to the professionals, such as hazard pay, health insurance, and legal assistance.

As one of the employees of the Commission who had the privilege to be a PRC Representative and assist the Board, I have witnessed how they significantly impacted the maintenance and enhancement of their profession. Together with the Board, I have seen how dilapidated laboratories with hints of chemical odors have been renovated. I was in the room where it usually happens – the Board providing free consultations on managing the laboratories’ hazardous chemical wastes. I have seen how the Board has fought for the rights of every Chemist and Chemical Technician by strengthening their role in the chemical laboratory, enforcing the law that only registered Chemists and Chemical Technicians are allowed to perform chemical analyses. In one of our recent audits, when the institution we inspected reported that they increased their Plantilla position of Chemists due to the Board’s zealous implementation of the law, I can’t help but feel proud of the Board for the positive impact they continue to make for the profession. Personally, I believe the most significant contribution of the Board is mandating hazard pay for its professionals. In 2018, only a few Chemists and Chemical Technicians were receiving hazard pay, but because of the Board, all of the Chemists and Chemical Technicians working in the laboratory are now entitled for this benefit.

Inspection at National Reference Laboratory in East Avenue, Quezon City on February 16, 2024.

It is no secret that the Board has encountered several challenges before these trailblazing changes were achieved. Requiring a chemical laboratory in poor condition to have its facilities refurbished entails a hefty amount. The same goes for mandating hazard pay. We know that allocating budgets is difficult to achieve. The Board of Chemistry understands this issue and, with their good hearts, allows the establishment or institution to set its realistic target date of accomplishment on the recommendations of the Board that entail substantial financial costs. The Board’s actions towards such matters is one of the reasons why I sincerely appreciate them. They wield their authority, but they always bring humanity with their decisions. Sure, sometimes a laboratory takes a long time before complying with the set standards of the Board, but it’s all right, especially when it entails a massive positive transformation.

Those who had the chance to work with the Board of Chemistry, especially those assigned as the PRC Representative, will likewise attest to the Board’s passion and dedication towards improving the chemistry profession. I am sure not only myself but also my colleagues have witnessed how the Board willingly spent overtime when visiting the laboratories to share their expertise. In monitoring the compliances submitted through email by the establishments or institutions, my colleagues and I are often in awe with the Board when we see the time they reply to the applicants. Oftentimes, we see them answer in the middle of the night or even in the break of dawn.

It is easy to envision a better society, but the challenge lies in working toward that goal. Change does not happen overnight. Change is a gradual process. It takes time, and it takes effort. In the Chemistry profession, it has taken years and resources before we now see how this change has positively affected its professionals. The Board of Chemistry, composed of these dedicated women of science, is leading this change. Just like every celebrated woman in our history whom we know has fought for equality and made outstanding contributions that have benefited humanity, one thing is common among them – and that is how they have dedicated a significant amount of time of their life to make it happen. Like them, the Board of Chemistry has created positive changes by taking concrete actions that promote equality and empowerment. Now, fast forward to the present, as of February 2024, a total of 1069 inspections of chemical laboratories have been done, 617 of which have been issued with the Certificate of Authority to Operate, and 452 are in different stages of improvement. The Board of Chemistry continues its mission with a target of 151 chemical laboratories for inspection and monitoring for 2024.

For the Chemistry profession, indeed, change has come – led by three women, one chemical laboratory at a time!

Call for Nominations to the 2024 PRC Outstanding Professional of the Year in the Field of Chemistry

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) has opened the nominations for the 2024 Outstanding Professional of the Year Award. Please see the PRC Resolution No. 1625 series of 2023 for guidance.

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) is calling for nominations for the 2024 PRC Outstanding Professional of the Year in the Field of Chemistry. Nominations may come from the academe, government and the industry.

In connection with this, if you have chemists in mind, with active PRC licenses and membership to ICP, who will qualify, we highly encourage you to nominate them.

  1. PRC Resolution for 2024 OPYA
  2. List of Nomination Requirements for Submission to ICP
  3. Nomination Acceptance Form
  4. Nomination Form_CV for nominees to accomplish (OPYA Annex A)

Submit us the names for nomination to secretariat@icp.pornytrex.com.

Deadline for submission of completed documents to ICP is on 15 April 2024.

Amendment of ICP Board Resolution No. 2023-002: Updating the ICP Election Procedures for 2023

WHEREAS, the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) is the Accredited Integrated Professional Organization duly accredited by the Professional Regulatory Commission to represent the Chemistry profession;

WHEREAS, Sec. 4, Paragraph (h) of Republic Act No. 10657 otherwise known as the Chemistry Profession Act of 2015 states that the professional practice of chemistry covers the performance of the following and similar activities, such as consultation, investigation, or research concerning physico-chemical or biochemical matters which involve public interest, public safety, laws or regulations;

WHEREAS, amendment is made for ICP Board Resolution No. 2023-003 to correct  some minor errors and update election timeline to allow sufficient time to review submitted nominations and election votes;

WHEREAS, the activities under the term of office of three members of the ICP Board of Directors expires on 30 June 2023;

WHEREAS, the following members of the ICP Board of Directors have terms which will expire on 30 June 2023:

End TermAcademeGovernmentIndustry
2023Dr. Glenn V. Alea*Mr. Angelo S. Bugarin*Ms. Priscilla Alice L. Samonte*
2024Dr. Lilibeth dlC. CooMr. Admer Rey C. DablioMr. Mark L. Grageda
2022Dr. Fabian M. DayritAtty. Ma. Cristina L. Moratalla, RCh, JDDr. Carmela Q. Capule
* Terms to expire on 30 June 2023.

WHEREAS, three (3) board members — one representative each from the industry, government and academe — are to be elected. Only active REGULAR members of the ICP (chemists) may nominate and be nominated;

WHEREAS, the elected members of the board are expected to regularly attend the meetings of the ICP and actively participate in activities geared towards achieving the objectives of the ICP as follows:

  1. Support the implementation of the Chemistry Profession Act and the Code of Ethics for chemists and safeguard the professional interests of the registered chemists;
  2. Make the chemistry professionals (both chemists and chemical technicians) conscious of their serious responsibilities in helping the country develop;
  3. Provide a forum to exchange ideas on the chemistry profession;
  4. Cultivate discipline among the members, develop the spirit of camaraderie, and maintain occupational standards;
  5. Encourage and foster chemical education; and
  6. Develop a continuing program of activities leading towards upgrading of standards, such as accreditation of laboratories and professional competencies.

WHEREAS, in view of the upcoming 37th Philippine Chemistry Congress which is organized by the ICP, the terms of members of the ICP Board of Directors which will expire by 30 June 2023 is extended until 31 July 2023;

WHEREAS, the ICP shall adopt the following election timeline:

DatesActivities
01 June 2023Announcement of the Call for Nominations to the ICP Board of Directors
01-14 June 2023Nomination Period Google Form will be open until 11:59 PM PhST of 14 June 2023
15-30 June 2023Screening of nominations
01 July 2023Announcement of official candidates to the ICP Election 2023
01-13 July 2023Posting of Commitment Statements (AVPs) of the election official candidates
14-28 July 2023Election Period Google Form is open for election votes, until closing of the 37th PCC (12:00 PM PhST of 28 July 2023)
28 July 2023, 12 NoonClosing of the Election 2023
28 July 2023, after 12 NoonVerification of ICP membership of voters
29-30 July 2023Deliberation of Election Results
31 July 2023Announcement of Election Winners: New members of the ICP Board of Directors

WHEREAS, the ICP shall adopt the following election guidelines, to wit:

  1. Only REGULAR members of the ICP in good standing can be nominated, submit a nomination, and vote. Self-nomination will NOT be accepted. The ICP Membership Committee shall confirm the status of nominators, nominees, and voters;
  2. Incumbent officers of any ICP Chapter or Cluster CANNOT be nominated;
  3. The ICP Election Committee will contact the nominee through the email address provided by the nominator;
  4. To be an Official Candidate, the nominee must accept the nomination by email on or before the deadline set by the Committee, with official endorsement from immediate supervisor or head of agency/company/laboratory to which the nominee is affiliated. The nominee must submit his/her CV using the ICP COMELEC prescribed format;
  5. The nomination period is from 01 to 14 June 2023. Nomination is submitted online through a Google Form, which should be accomplished by 12 noon of 14 June;
  6. The official list of nominees will be posted on the ICP website (//pornytrex.com/) by 01 July 2023;
  7. The election period will be from 14 to 28 July 2023. Each official candidate will be given a chance to present themselves to the ICP voters through posting of commitment videos on the ICP website and social media account on 01-13 July 2023. The official close of the election will be on the closing ceremony of the 37th Philippine Chemistry Congress, 28 July 2023, 12 noon. Results will be announced on 31 July 2023;
  8. The winning candidate from each sector will hold office for a term of 3 years (2023 to 2026);
  9. The ICP Elections Committee (ICP COMELEC) for 2023 is composed of the following: Dr. Lilibeth dlC. Coo (Chairperson), Mr. Mark L. Grageda, and Mr. Admer Rey C. Dablio (Members).

NOW THEREFORE, the ICP, HAS RESOLVED TO APPROVE, AS IT HEREBY APPROVES the subject “UPDATING THE ICP ELECTION PROCEDURES FOR 2023.”

(sgd)
FABIAN M. DAYRIT, RCh, PhD
President

(sgd)
MARK L. GRAGEDA, RCh
Vice President for External Affairs

(sgd)
GLENN V. ALEA, RCh, PhD
Vice President for Internal Affairs

(sgd)
PRISCILLA ALICE L. SAMONTE, RCh, MSc
Board Secretary

(sgd)
LILIBETH DLC. COO, RCh, PhD
Board Treasurer

(sgd)
CARMELA Q. CAPULE, RCh, PhD
Board Auditor

(sgd)
ADMER REY C. DABLIO, RCh
Board Public Information Officer

(absent)
ANGELO S. BUGARIN, RCh, MPA
Board Member

(sgd)
MA. CRISTINA L. MORATALLA, RCh, JD
Board Member

Updating the ICP Election Procedures for 2023 (ICP Board Resolution No 2023-002)

WHEREAS, the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) is the Accredited Integrated Professional Organization duly accredited by the Professional Regulatory Commission to represent the Chemistry profession; 

WHEREAS, Sec. 4, Paragraph (h) of Republic Act No. 10657 otherwise known as the Chemistry Profession Act of 2015 states that the professional practice of chemistry covers the performance of the following and similar activities, such as consultation, investigation, or research concerning physico-chemical or biochemical matters which involve public interest, public safety, laws or regulations; 

WHEREAS, the activities under the term of office of three members of the ICP Board of Directors expires on 30 June 2023; 

WHEREAS, the following members of the ICP Board of Directors have terms which will expire on 30 June 2023: 

End Term Academe GovernmentIndustry
2023 Dr. Glenn V. Alea* Mr. Angelo S. Bugarin* Ms. Priscilla Alice L. Samonte* 
2024 Dr. Lilibeth dlC. Coo Mr. Admer Rey C. Dablio Mr. Mark L. Grageda 
2022 Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit Dr. Carmela Q. Capule Atty. Ma. Cristina L. Moratalla, RCh, JD 
* Terms to expire on 30 June 2023. 

WHEREAS, three (3) board members — one representative each from the industry, government and academe — are to be elected. Only active REGULAR members of the ICP (chemists) may nominate and be nominated; 

WHEREAS, the elected members of the board are expected to regularly attend the meetings of the ICP and actively participate in activities geared towards achieving the objectives of the ICP as follows: 

  1. Support the implementation of the Chemistry Profession Act and the Code of Ethics for chemists and safeguard the professional interests of the registered chemists; 
  2. Make the chemistry professionals (both chemists and chemical technicians) conscious of their serious responsibilities in helping the country develop; 
  3. Provide a forum to exchange ideas on the chemistry profession; 
  4. Cultivate discipline among the members, develop the spirit of camaraderie, and maintain occupational standards; 
  5. Encourage and foster chemical education; and 
  6. Develop a continuing program of activities leading towards upgrading of standards, such as accreditation of laboratories and professional competencies. 

WHEREAS, in view of the upcoming 37th Philippine Chemistry Congress which is organized by the ICP, the terms of members of the ICP Board of Directors which will expire by 30 June 2023 is extended until 31 July 2023; 

WHEREAS, the ICP shall adopt the following election timeline: 

Dates Activities
01 June 2023 Announcement of the Call for Nominations to the ICP Board of Directors 
15-30 June 2023 Nomination Period; Screening of nominations 
01 July 2023 Announcement of official candidates to the ICP Election 2023 
01-13 July 2023 Posting of Commitment Statements (AVPs) of the election official candidates 
14-28 July 2023 Election Period 
28 July 2023, 12 noon Closing of the election 
31 July 2023 Announcement of Election Winners: New members of the ICP Board of Directors 

WHEREAS, the ICP shall adopt the following election guidelines, to wit: 

  1. Only REGULAR members of the ICP in good standing can be nominated, submit a nomination, and vote. Self-nomination will NOT be accepted. The ICP Membership Committee shall confirm the status of nominators, nominees, and voters; 
  2. Incumbent officers of any ICP Chapter or Cluster CANNOT be nominated; 
  3. The ICP Election Committee will contact the nominee through the email address provided by the nominator; 
  4. To be an Official Candidate, the nominee must accept the nomination by email on or before the deadline set by the Committee, with official endorsement from immediate supervisor or head of agency/company/laboratory to which the nominee is affiliated. The nominee must submit his/her CV using the ICP COMELEC prescribed format; 
  5. The nomination period is from 15 to 30 June 2023. Nomination is submitted online through a Google Form, which should be accomplished by 12 noon of 30 June; 
  6. The official list of nominees will be posted on the ICP website (//pornytrex.com/) by 01 July 2023; 
  7. The election period will be from 14 to 28 July 2023. Each official candidate will be given a chance to present themselves to the ICP voters through posting of commitment videos on the ICP website and social media account on 01-13 July 2023. The official close of the election will be on the closing ceremony of the 37th Philippine Chemistry Congress, 28 July 2023, 12 noon. Results will be announced on 31 July 2023; 
  8. The winning candidate from each sector will hold office for a term of 3 years (2023 to 2026); 
  9. The ICP Elections Committee (ICP COMELEC) for 2023 is composed of the following: Dr. Lilibeth dlC. Coo (Chairperson), Mr. Mark L. Grageda, and Mr. Admer Rey C. Dablio (Members). 

NOW THEREFORE, the ICP, HAS RESOLVED TO APPROVE, AS IT HEREBY APPROVES the subject “UPDATING THE ICP ELECTION PROCEDURES FOR 2023.” 

(sgd)
FABIAN M. DAYRIT, RCh, PhD
President

(sgd)
MARK L. GRAGEDA, RCh
Vice President for External Affairs

(sgd)
GLENN V. ALEA, RCh, PhD
Vice President for Internal Affairs

(sgd)
PRISCILLA ALICE L. SAMONTE, RCh, MSc
Board Secretary

(sgd)
LILIBETH DLC. COO, RCh, PhD
Board Treasurer

(sgd)
CARMELA Q. CAPULE, RCh, PhD
Board Auditor

(sgd)
ADMER REY C. DABLIO, RCh
Board Public Information Officer

(absent)
ANGELO S. BUGARIN, RCh, MPA
Board Member

(sgd)
MA. CRISTINA L. MORATALLA, RCh, JD
Board Member

ICP Board Election 2022: Results

The ICP Election Committee (ICP COMELEC) would like to share the results of the elections for ICP Board of Directors. The newly elected board members who will serve from 2022 to 2025 are:

Academe: Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit
Industry: Dr. Maria Carmela Q. Capule
Government: Atty. Ma. Christina L. Moratalla