Ilocos Norte leads the way as PH's first ISO-certified province

Ilocos Norte province gets ISO 9001:2015 certification, the first in the Philippines.

LAOAG CITY – The provincial government of Ilocos Norte was granted ISO 9001:2015 certification by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), making it the first province nationwide to receive this accreditation.

ISO is a non-governmental organization composed of experts in products, services, and systems who create standards of management to ensure quality, safety, and efficiency.

In 2013, Ilocos Norte had also been the first province nationwide to receive ISO 9001:2008 certification.

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Governor Imee Marcos had announced in her State of the Province Address that year, “We are now truly world-class, observing the international standards of transparency, predictability, accountability.”

Provincial Treasurer and ISO Facilitator Josephine Calajate shared Monday, “If not for Governor Imee’s hands-on leadership, her vision, and her achievements, we never would have been inspired to do all of these things,” adding that it took collective effort from every Capitol department to undergo and pass the accreditation process even amidst other activities.

Late last year, the external audit was conducted by Louisito Arada, lead auditor of private consultancy KMAR Philippines Company, Lilibeth Rivera, and Joselito Olivenza.

Compared to earlier versions of ISO accreditation (2000 and 2008), which focused on managing processes, the 2015 version “is less prescriptive, focusing instead on performance,” overall guiding organizations or units to be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.

A major difference was also the focus on risk-based thinking or risk management, which required each Capitol department to strategize office procedures based on weaknesses and risk of failure in order to identify opportunities for improvement.

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Calajate thanked the participants and KMAR auditors “who made it possible for us to be the first province to be ISO 9001:2015-accredited in the entire Philippines. We started well, all smiles, and we’re going home full of vision.”

For her part, Marcos echoed her appreciation, “We’re truly very grateful, and at the same time we remain aware that there still is a lot of work to be done.”

“Good governance is its own reward,” she reiterated, saying that ISO certification is the standard for clear and orderly leadership.

The accreditation was granted just in time, as the province currently prepares to celebrate its 199th foundation anniversary on Feb. 2, 2017. [By Leilani G. Adriano, PNA]

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