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SBMA gears up for ISO certification on environmental management
Nov 24, 2013

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - Preparations are now underway for the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to be certified for ISO 14000, the international standard for environmental management.

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said he has ordered the creation of a technical working group that will oversee the agency's preparations for certification.

"We hope to have the SBMA certified within a year," Garcia said, pointing out that the SBMA was granted early this year the ISO 9001:2008 certification, which is the international standard for quality management systems set by the International Organization for Standardization.

SBMA director Benjamin Antonio III recently announced the plan for the ISO certification to locators during the 2nd Environmental Awareness Forum held at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center.

According to Antonio, the agency will specifically work for the ISO 14001:2004 certification, which sets out the criteria for an environmental management system and maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system.

"Since the certification's scope is geographic, it will include all SBMA offices. In fact, it's going to include the entire fenced area of the Subic Bay Freeport," Antonio explained.

"Everything under the control of the SBMA should be part of the scope of the environmental management system," he added.

Antonio said that one of the requirements for the certification would involve the SBMA conducting environmental risk assessments. This would allow the Subic authority to identify environmental impacts, assess which ones are considered critical, and address the critical environmental aspects that exist within the agency.

"What's going to happen is we are going to embed the environmental consciousness, awareness, and environmental stewardship in many, if not all of the positions in the SBMA," he said.

The risk assessment will be done by the entire agency through the respective department managers, and the findings of which will be consolidated and implemented.

Antonio added that apart from the risk assessment, ISO 14000 would also require SBMA to have environmental emergency preparedness and response which will be tested regularly.

"Meaningful change like this one takes time, especially when it involves such a huge agency," Antonio noted. "It's not an easy task, but we'll try our best to get it done in one year." (30)

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