A BACOLOD-BASED laboratory offering water and sample testing services is the first private institution in Western Visayas to be a member of One Laboratory Worldwide (OneLab).

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) undersecretary for Regional Operations Brenda Nazareth-Manzano Tuesday, April 16, turned over a copy of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) to Negros Prawn Producers Cooperative (NPPC) Analytical and Diagnostic Laboratory as the 47th, the newest, member of OneLab.

The copy of the MOU was received by NPPC officials headed by chairman Roberto Gatuslao in rites held at the cooperative’s laboratory facility in Bacolod City.

Initiated and harmonized by the DOST in 2012, OneLab is a network of laboratories anchored on an information and technology (IT) platform which broadens public access to testing and calibration services at a single touch point.

It was positioned to provide standardized services and fees through all DOST and non-DOST laboratories. Also, it provides a timely and accurate test and calibration results.

Nazareth-Manzano said NPPC which has huge business potentials surpassed the criteria to be a member of OneLab.

She said the cooperative’s membership to OneLab enables it to have other customers in the network and expand its services to the rest of the region, country and some areas in Asia.

“Being a member, they can also avail other soft services like trainings and proficiency testing which are very costly if done on their own,” she said, adding that NPCC’s presence as part of the network will also benefit and boost industries in the area that need laboratory testing services.

OneLab has three major components such as network, laboratory and IT system.

Network means collaboration, harmonization and interfacing while laboratory encompasses operational efficiency, technical competence and proficiency.

IT system is about technology platform and virtual integration.

Of the 47 current members, four laboratories are based in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. The rest are in the Philippines.

One of the main criteria for membership is ISO/IEC 17025: 2005 or “General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories” accreditation.

Membership is valid for five years and can be renewed upon submission of letter of intent to the DOST.

The agency developed a Unified Laboratory Information System which can be used by members for free. Though member-laboratories having their own information systems are not obliged to use or migrate to that of the DOST.

Nazareth-Manzano said OneLab is really into the concept of networking. Meaning, all laboratories whether public or private are included in one network.

She said the idea is, if one laboratory cannot provide one service others can do it.

“If private laboratories are there to meet all the testing requirements of the industry, then we in the government can put our resources in some other things,” she said.

The official added “for now, we can do things required by the industry like research and development with the facility that we have already put up in the laboratory.”

Gatuslao, for his part, thanked the DOST for its support to the laboratory.

NPPC vice chairman Raoul Flores, who was also present at the activity, said their membership is another window to the world.

“We have been limited here in Region 6. With OneLab, this will open our laboratory in Luzon, Mindanao and other parts of the Visayas,” he added.

Also present at the turnover rites were OneLab Project Leader Rosemarie Salazar, DOST Region 6 Director Rowen Gelonga (second from right) and NPPC Laboratory Manager Roselyn Usero.