I. Norte tagged as the first fully ISO-certified province in the Philippines

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A day before its 195th founding anniversary, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) received a positive verdict from an international certifying body, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), labeling Ilocos Norte as the first fully ISO-certified province in the Philippines today, February 1.

Officials and employees of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte await the final announcement of the ISO audit team regarding the ISO certification at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall, Ilocos Norte Capitol, February 1, 2013. (Photo by Ariel Pacheco, PGIN-CMO)

Luisito Arada, head of the ISO audit team, made the announcement before the officials and employees of PGIN, including Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos and Atty. Windell Chua, the designated Quality Management Representative and provincial administrator.

With all Capitol offices successfully passing the ISO certification process, the certifying body conferred the ISO 9001: 2008 certification to the Provincial Government after finding no single major non-conformity during the second stage of the external audit.

“ISO requirements are measurable. If your action is better than what is required then you’ll qualify,” Arada said.

Arada also pointed out how good practices by the PGIN such as the constant implementation of a document tracking system to efficiently manage all documented transactions and the major face-lifting of government buildings including the Ilocos Norte Provincial Jail contributed to the positive outcome of the process.

“The province has many room for improvements with many good practices…we have learned so much,” Arada added.

The move to get the ISO-certification for Ilocos Norte had started last September 25, 2012 with all the provincial office heads and employees undergoing ISO orientation and training with the help of MacroVision Consultancy, a Philippine-based group which offers in-company training on management systems including those which are ISO-related.

Now, Ilocos Norte is the first province in the country which had successfully made all its Capitol offices ISO-certified, bidding to improve further its excellence on professional and quality public service and achieve the highest standard in governance and economic development.

In a statement, Gov. Marcos said: “It’s something that we can really be proud of dahil international standard yan…German pa yung template na ginagamit natin at ‘yung mga auditors natin ay talaga namang mababagsik.”

Gov. Marcos also pointed out how Ilocos Norte’s achievement in ISO can serve as a template to other provinces in the country and how it can contribute to the province’s efforts towards sustainable development.

“I think this is a real advantage to the investors…and hopefully the other people who will be coming to Ilocos Norte to visit, makikita nila na entirely transparent, predictable and reliable ang transakyon sa probinsya,” she added.

ISO which is another term for International Organization for Standardization was derived from the Greek word “isos” which means “equal.” It is a group which oversees service procedures and gives state of the art specifications for products, services and good practice, helping to make industry more efficient and effective.

Before ISO, Ilocos Norte has already achieved various feats on good governance, including its being listed as one of the consistent top performing provinces in the country by the Department of the Interior and Local Government last August 2012.—Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO

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