Sarangani water lab operation to help business in Southwestern Mindanao

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 November) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has accredited a water testing and waste water treatment laboratory facility in nearby Sarangani, a move seen to help the local business sector, officials said.

Sarangani’s revenue-generating Environmental Protection and Conservation Center (ECPC) was recently certified compliant with International Organization for Standardization 17025, the standard used by testing and calibration laboratories, said Jelyn E. Apura, the center’s executive director.

“We encourage business companies [in the region] to have their water and waste water testing conducted in the ECPC,” Apura said in a statement.

In January this year, the Department of Health accredited the center’s drinking water testing facility worth P6 million.

The P1.9-million waste water treatment testing laboratory, on the other hand, was acquired three years ago.

Both facilities are now accredited by the DENR, Apura said, adding they need between P10 and P15 million for the accreditation of the center’s existing food testing laboratory.

The environment department last year handed a P19-million food testing facility but more funds are needed to have it accredited, she added.

Nenita L. Barroso, Department of Trade and Industry – Sarangani director, said the laboratory’s various testing facilities would give a boost to the food and other industries in the region.

When the food facility is given accreditation, entrepreneurs would no longer go to Manila for food testing, she noted.

Barroso said this will help them save on their cost and result in lower prices of commodities with quality products from the Soccsksargen area.

Soccsksargen, or Central Mindanao, straddles the provinces of South Cotabato, North COtabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The ECPC’s drinking water testing facility will help a company planning to go into water drinking business to secure the needed certification required by regulatory authorities, said microbiologist Eddie Ladiaman.

The center employs two microbiologists, three chemists, and one medical technologist for its technical operation.

One basic requirement that water companies should comply with for drinking water is a low-cost microbiological analysis for total coliform costing P350 and and pH test at P160, Tadiaman said.

The ECPC so far is the only one-stop shop local government unit-managed laboratory center in Southwestern Mindanao.

The Sarangani government earlier conceptualized the center as a revenue-generating enterprise and at the same time as a learning facility for those in the academe.

Preserved animals from the sea, air and land can be found in the center, which has become one of the study tour destinations in the region. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)