Regional Director Susan Sumbeling (right photo, middle inset) led the NRO’s recertification process with all staff (left photo) in attendance together with the SOCOTEC auditors during the Opening Meeting.

The NEDA Regional Office Cordillera (NRO-CAR) was recommended for ISO 9001:2015 Certification for another three years after the remote recertification process conducted by SOCOTEC Certification International Philippines on November 22, 2021. This confirms the continuous effectiveness of the NRO’s management system in providing regional development coordination.

Lead Auditor Mr. Kim Winston Pajares appreciated the NRO for its continued commitment to continual improvement and in pursuing its ISO certification amid the pandemic.

The SOCOTEC Auditors noted positive findings such as the modernized administrative functions, orderly premises, and accessibility and easy retrieval of records. The evaluation and analysis of articles or media releases across regional offices and teamwork during audit as a good practice were also commended. Moreover, the process improvements were also evident such as the Cordillera Administrative Region Investment Program (CARIPOL) monitoring system and the electric records management.

Assistant Regional Director Stephanie Christiansen emphasized that the NRO’s initiative to establish and sustain its certification is anchored on its mission “to orchestrate regional development initiatives and aspirations through broad-based consultations, and in an atmosphere that inspires a dynamic fit among management, staff, partners and resources”.

As the lead in sub-national development planning and secretariat to the Regional Development Council (RDC), the NRO continually enhanced its core processes of Regional Development Planning and Monitoring, Regional Development Investment Program (RDIP) Formulation and Project Evaluation, and Project Monitoring and Evaluation, and four of its support processes. Beginning this quarter, the Secretariat Services to RDC meetings shall be operationalized as a support QMS process as its way of improving its services to the Council.

ARD Christiansen added that the NRO’s enhanced QMS contributed to the successful delivery of its outputs and services despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Regional Director Susan Sumbeling reiterated the NRO’s commitment to sustain and strengthen efforts for the continual improvement of the QMS, especially in 2022 when the NRO shall be formulating the successor regional development plan and investment program.

The agency’s journey in embracing a global quality standard under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Quality Management System (QMS) began in 2014 when it was first ISO certified under 9001:2008 and in the current QMS version in 2018.