In order to facilitate the evaluation of technical competence in the analysis of soil fertility parameters, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), through OIC-Director Gina P. Nilo, Ms. Maribel Jalalon, Mr. Bergil B. Bernaldo, Mr. John Adrian Pascua, and the whole Laboratory Services Division (LSD), initiated the conduct of the First Philippine National Soil Laboratory Network (Phil NASOLAN) Proficiency Testing. The activity commenced in October 2022.
This initiative of the BSWM was rooted from its desire to be the pioneer institution in bringing to soil laboratories nationwide the high-quality proficiency testing services for the analysis of five (5) Soil Fertility Parameters – the soil pH, Organic Carbon (OC), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K), because as of 2021, the country has no existing Proficiency Testing provider yet for soil samples.
The BSWM is the nationally-mandated agency on the sustainable management of soil and water resources for agriculture. The agency is also responsible in formulating measures and guidelines for the effective utilization of soil and water resources as vital agricultural resources to attain food security, food safety, and environmental stability.
Furthermore, the BSWM-LSD is the authorized agency under the Department Circular No. 3 s. 2019 (Updated Implementing Rules and Regulations of Presidential Decree no. 1435) to supervise, regulate, and control the establishment of all soil laboratories in the Philippines. The BSWM is also the mandated national laboratory to capacitate the Regional Soil Laboratories. This is being done by providing technical support and guidance in the implementation of Quality Assurance programs. DA DO 6 s. 2021 also mandates BSWM as the national laboratory to capacitate its Regional Soil Laboratories by providing technical support and guidance in implementation of Quality Assurance programs. BSWM is also an internationally recognized institution, as it is the National Reference Laboratory as per the Food and Agriculture Organization Global Soil Laboratory Network (FAO-GLOSOLAN); as well as the chair and lead convenor of the Philippine National Soil Laboratory Network (Phil NASOLAN).
Currently, the 1st Phil NASOLAN Proficiency Testing is being participated in by 31 Soil Laboratories – five (5) from the National/Provincial Soil Laboratories, 15 from the DA Regional Soil Laboratories, four (4) from Private Soils Laboratories, and seven (7) from State Universities and Colleges Soil Laboratories. These laboratories have undergone the initial technical assessment, in accordance with the Department of Agriculture (DA) Memorandum Circular No. 3 s. 2020 or the Guidelines for the Issuance of the License to Operate Soil Laboratories. The first PhilNASOLAN Proficiency Testing is set to conclude on December 2022.
The institution is committed to provide exceptional customer services that conforms to accepted local and international standards on soil for agriculture. As such, the BSWM is in its preparation stage of technical and documentary requirements in compliance to the international standard; ISO/IEC 17043:2010: “Conformity Assessment – General Requirements for Proficiency Testing.” The institution plans to first facilitate the Proficiency Testing Scheme; which will serve as a documentary proof for the effective implementation in compliance to this international standard.