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[ ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR NO. 01, S. 2018, January 26, 2018 ]


Adopted: 16 January 2018
Date Filed: 26 January 2018

Pursuant  to  Article  III,  Section  5  a  (2,  3,  4)  and  Article  V,  Section  16.E  of Republic Act No. 10611, otherwise known as the Food Safety Act of 2013, “An Act to Strengthen the Food Safety Regulatory System in the Country to Protect Consumer   Health  and  Facilitate  Market  access  of  Local  Foods  and  Food Products, and For Other Purposes” and the ASEAN Good Agricultural Practices for  the  production  of  fresh  fruits  and  vegetables  in  the  ASEAN  Region,  this Circular is hereby promulgated.


SECTION 1. This Administrative Circular aims to achieve the following:
1.1     Facilitate the adoption of the four (4) GAP modules: food safety; produce quality,   environmental   management;   and  worker’s   health,   safety  and welfare.

1.2     Facilitate   availability   and   access   of   Philippine   agricultural   crops   to neighboring ASEAN markets and other foreign markets.

  This  Circular  establishes  the  revised  rules  and  procedures  in issuing,  maintaining  and  revoking  PhilGAP  Certificates  for  agricultural  crops based on compliance with the four (4) GAP modules as stipulated in Section 1.1.

SECTION  3. This Circular  covers  farms  and packing  facilities  with agricultural crops   harvested   at   a   point   in   their   growth   stages   intended   for   human consumption  or to be  used  as  raw  materials  for processed  products  for food purpose. This applies to agricultural crops with available Philippine National Standards (PNS) guide.

  Producers  can  apply  for  certification  under  any  of  the  two  (2)
4.1     Individual  certification  -  where  an  individual  producer,  who  will  be  the certificate  holder, applies for certification  based on its currently  practiced farm management system.

4.2     Group   Certification   -   where   a   group,   (i.e.   cooperative,   corporation,
institution or organization/ association) who will be the certificate holder, applies  for  certification  based  on  its  currently  practiced  quality management system (QMS) or internal control system (ICS), whichever is applicable.
SECTION 5. This Circular also establishes the composition and tasks of the Certification Committee, PhilGAP Inspectors, Monitoring Inspectors, Program Secretariat and Regional GAP Team.


SECTION  6. As used  in this circular,  the following  words,  terms  and phrases shall be construed to mean as follows:
6.1     Agricultural   Crops   refers   to  cultivated   plants   of  which   products   are harvested at some point in their growth stage intended for human consumption.

6.2     Applicant  refers  to  any  person  or  individuals  and  groups  (cooperative,
corporation, institution or organization/association)  that are involved in crop production applying for PhilGAP certification.

6.3     Application  Form  refers  to a document  to be filled  out by the  applicant applying  for PhilGAP  certification,  which also specifies  the list of documentary requirements.

6.4     Certification  refers  to  the  issuance  of  PhilGAP  certificate  with  a  formal procedure  by which  a competent  authority  evaluates  and verifies applications in accordance with the established requirements or standards.

6.5     Certification  Committee  refers  to  a  group  chaired  by  the  BPI  Assistant Director   tasked   to   evaluate   and   review   applications   to   recommend qualified applicants to the BPI Director for approval.

6.6     Conflict  of  interest  refers  to  as  having  an  economic  interest  with  the applicant under review for approval one year prior to, during or one year after work or employment was concluded.

6.7     Farm refers to an area that is devoted primarily to agricultural  processes with the primary objectives of producing agricultural crops.

6.8    Food Safety refers to the assurance that food will not cause harm to the consumers when it is prepared or eaten according to its intended use.

6.9     Food Safety Act of 2013 also known as “Republic Act No. 10611” refers to an act that strengthens the food safety regulatory system in the country to protect  consumer  health  and facilitate  market  access  of local foods  and food products and for other purposes.

6.10   Good  Agricultural  Practices  ( GAP  ) refer  to the  practices  that  address
environmental,  economic  and social sustainability  for on-farm  processes, and which result in safe and quality food and nonfood agricultural products.

6.11  Inspection refers to the examination of food, food production facilities or establishments, and the management and production systems of food businesses,  including  the  examination   of  documents,  finished  product testing  and  registration,  and  of  the  origin  and  destination  of  production inputs and outputs to verify compliance with legal requirements or relevant standard by an agency mandated to perform food safety regulatory and/or enforcement functions.

6.12  Inspection Checklist refers to a document developed based on existing Philippine National Standards (PNS) that provide guidance to inspectors in verifying compliance based on the approved standards.

6.13   Inspection  Plan  refers  to  a  document  that  provides  the  details  of  the inspection   that   include   its  activities,   timelines   and   members   of  the inspection team.

6.14   Inspection Report refers to a record that summarizes the observations and findings during the conduct of inspection.

6.15   Inspection  Team  refers  to  a  group  of  designated  PhilGAP  inspectors, which  may  also  include  the  program  secretariat,  tasked  to  inspect  and assess compliance of a farm with the established standards.

6.16  Monitoring refers to conducting a planned sequence of observations or measurements   to  assess  whether  control  measures  are  operating  as intended.

6.17   Monitoring  Inspector  refers  to  duly  designated  technical  personnel  from BPI  tasked   to  monitor   PhilGAP   certified   farms   with  regard   to  their compliance to established provisions.

6.18   PhilGAP Inspector refers to duly designated technical personnel from BPI, various regional field offices and other agencies tasked to conduct actual inspection  relevant  to  initial  or  renewal  inspection,  and  to  prepare  and submit inspection report.

6.19   Production   Record  refers  to  documentation   of  activities  from  primary
production and postharvest handling up to distribution.

6.20   Program   Secretariat   refers   to  duly   designated   Plant   Product   Safety Services Division (PPSSD) personnel that are tasked, among others, to prepare and transmit official communication, to prepare inspection plan, coordinate with relevant agencies and facilitate submission of qualified applicants for certification.

SECTION 7. PhilGAP Certification Committee (PhilGAPCC)
7.1     The BPI Assistant  Director  shall chair  the PhilGAPCC  composed  of the chiefs  of  Plant  Product  Safety  Services  Division  (PPSSD)  as  co-chair, National Plant Quarantine Services Division (NPQSD), and National Seed Quality Control Services Division (NSQCSD) and/or their designated representatives. There shall be designated permanent members wherein a Special Order is signed by the Secretary.

7.2     The PhilGAPCC is tasked to perform the following functions:

7.2.1 After initial evaluation of applicants by the PhilGAP Inspectors, the PhilGAPCC shall undertake final evaluation of and make appropriate recommendations to the BPI Director regarding applications;

7.2.2  Endorse to the BPI Director the qualified applicants for certification;

7.2.3 Act on filed complaints about abuses in the production and sale of products that do not adhere to PhilGAP provisions, including the use of PhilGAP certified mark; review the reports of investigations, and make the appropriate recommendations  to the BPI Director whether or not to revoke, or cancel a previously issued PhilGAP certification;

7.2.4  Recommend  to BPI Director the list of qualified PhilGAP inspectors as identified and endorsed by the directors of the various agencies or  by  the  DA  Regional  Field  Offices  (RFOs),  for  approval  to  the Office of the Secretary;

7.2.5  Undertake annual review of the program, set priorities and endorse the proposed strategic plan to the BPI Director for approval; and

7.2.6  Undertake annual review of the guidelines, its inspection procedures and propose changes, when necessary.
SECTION 8. Pool of PhilGAP Inspectors,
8.1 The BPI shall maintain a pool of inspectors. The current pool of inspectors as provided by relevant Special Orders shall remain valid until amended or revoked.

8.2  The  pool  of  PhilGAP   Inspectors   is  tasked   to  perform   the  following functions:
8.2.1  Set-out the inspection plan;

8.2.2  Conduct actual inspection;

8.2.3  Collect samples for laboratory analysis, as deemed necessary;

8.2.4  Prepare inspection report;

8.2.5  Coordinate   with   the   applicant   regarding   compliance   and   non- compliance with items reflected in the inspection report;

8.2.6  Conduct follow-up inspections, if necessary; and

8.2.7  Submit   the  inspection   report   and  checklist   to  the  Certification Committee through the Program Secretariat.
8.3     Designated PhilGAP inspectors shall hold a degree in agriculture or other related   science   courses   with  training   and  experience   in  any  of  the following: basic food safety principles, crop management, integrated pest management, postharvest techniques and handling aspects, and environmental management.

8.4     The  BPI  may  collaborate  with  the  Bureau  of  Agriculture  and  Fisheries Standards (BAFS) in training the PhilGAP inspectors on the provisions of the Philippine National Standards (PNS).

8.5     The budget for the inspection and training activities shall be charged to the BPI  GAP   Program,   subject   to  availability   of  funds   and  government accounting rules and regulations.
SECTION 9. Pool of PhilGAP Monitoring Inspectors.
9.1     The Plant Product Safety Services Division ( PPSSD ) shall head the pool of Monitoring Inspectors.

9.2     The  pool  of  Monitoring  Inspectors  is  tasked  to  perform  the  following
9.2.1  Monitor compliance of PhilGAP certified farms, and;

9.2.2  Conduct investigations of filed complaints.
9.3     Designated  Monitoring  Inspectors  shall  hold  a  degree  in  agriculture  or other related science courses with training and experience in any of the following: basic food safety principles, crop management, integrated pest management, postharvest techniques and handling aspects, and environmental management.

9.4     The  BPI  may  collaborate  with  BAFS  in  training  the  pool  of  Monitoring
Inspectors on the provisions of the PNS.

9.5     The budget for the monitoring and training activities shall be charged to the BPI  GAP   Program,   subject   to  availability   of  funds   and  government accounting rules and regulations.
SECTION 10. PhilGAP Program Secretariat.
10.1   The Accreditation  and Inspection  Section  (AIS) of the BPI-Plant  Product Safety Services Division (PPSSD) shall head the PhilGAP Program Secretariat composed of designated BPI-PPSSD personnel.

10.2   The  PhilGAP  Program  Secretariat  is  tasked  to  perform  the  following functions:
10.2.1   Technical Support  Assessment of submitted applications;  Prepare inspection plan; Coordinate with the PhilGAP inspectors and relevant agencies or offices during the conduct of inspection;  Receive  and  submit  the  results  of  inspections  to  the PPSSD Division Chief who shall review and submit the same to PhilGAPCC with recommendation for possible action;  Safe  keep  all  pertinent  documents  related  to  PhilGAP
certification;  Draft official communications and documentations; and  Perform other duties that may be assigned from time to time in relation to PhilGAP activities.
10.2.2   Administrative Support  Responsible for scheduling of inspections; Take charge of booking, transportations, and budget preparations; Responsible of organize record keeping and other documentations; Coordinate   with   the   technical   secretariat   and management in relation to administrative matters;  Perform other duties that may be assigned from time to time in relation to PhilGAP activities
SECTION 11. Regional Field Office - Regulatory Division (RFO-RD)
11.1   The RFO-RD is tasked to perform the following functions:

11.1.1   Promote and provide assistance to eligible farmers in applying for
PhilGAP certification; and
11.1.2   Conduct   farm   pre-assessment   and  recommend   applicants   to
Regional Director for endorsement to BPI.
SECTION 12. The BPI, if deem necessary, shall accredit Third Party to conduct PhilGAP  inspection  and  certification.  The  necessary  guidelines  will  be  issued before the accreditation.


SECTION 13. Filing of Application

13.1   The following may apply for PhilGAP certification:
a.     Individual, including partnerships;

b.     Group     (cooperatives,     corporations,     institutions     organizations     /

c.     Agencies  managing  demonstration  farms  of  government,  academic and/or research institutions, including LGUs
13.2   Applicants shall submit the following documentary requirements:

13.2.1   Individual Farm Application
a. Duly accomplished application form;

b. Farm profile;

c. Farm map or area map and GPS coordinates, if available;

d. Field  operation  procedures   including  the  list  of  fertilizers, pesticides and other agro-chemical inputs used;

e. Certificate   of   training   of   the   farm   owner   or   authorized representative  on  PhilGAP  conducted  by  recognized institutions  by any  of the  following:  ATI,  BPI,  LGUs,  RFOs, SUCs or by ATI-accredited extension service providers. For internally conducted trainings, a record of training should be provided;

f. Production  and  harvesting  records.  Applicants  applying  for certification must have at least one production cycle of record or three (3) months of farm records.
13.2.2   Group Farm Application
a.     Duly accomplished application form signed by the applicant or designated  representative.  A  board  resolution  showing authority  to  the  designated  representative  to  sign  the application form in behalf of the cooperative, corporation, institution or organization/association  shall be attached to the application form;

b.     Farm and/or organizational profile, as applicable;

c.     Farm map or area map and GPS coordinates, if available;

d.     Field operation procedures  including the list of fertilizers and agro-chemical inputs used;

e.     Certificate of GAP training of the farmers, conducted by any of the  following:  ATI,  BPI,  LGUs,  RFOS,  SUCs  or  by  ATI- accredited  extension  service  providers.  For  internally conducted trainings, a record of training should be provided;

f.     Production  and  harvesting  records.  Applicants  applying  for
certification must have at least one production cycle of record or three (3) months of farm records.

g.     For   corporation,   Quality   Management   System   (QMS)   or
Internal Control System, as applicable

h. Certificate  of Registration  (i.e. SEC, DOLE,  CDA) and other related permits (e.g, ECC), as applicable;

i. Certificate  for accreditation  of farmers/growers,  if applicable; and

j. Procedure   for  outgrowership   or  contract   farming   scheme which  will  show  that  the  company/PMOs/cooperative  have 100%  control  of  all  registered  or  accredited  growers,  (e.g, internal policies on accreditation  of farmer/grower,  sanctions, etc.), if applicable.
13.3  Applicants shall submit their application to the Office of the DA Regional Executive   Director  (RED)  of  their  respective   regions,  which  shall  be endorsed to the BPI Director through the Program Technical Secretariat for evaluation and appropriate action.

13.4   After   evaluation,   the   Program   Technical   Secretariat   shall   notify   the applicant and the PhilGAP inspectors of the inspection plan within ten (10) working days.

SECTION 14. Conduct of Inspection

14.1   Farms shall be evaluated  using the checklist  based on adopted  relevant PNS that spells out the requirements for PhilGAP certification. The same checklist shall be used for farms producing agricultural crops intended for domestic and international markets.

14.2   Assessment of the farm must comply with the four (4) GAP modules

14.3  A team of multi-disciplinary inspectors, at most three (3) inspectors, shall conduct the inspection based on the guidelines and checklist developed. If applicable,  samples  for  heavy  metals,  microbial  and  pesticide  analysis shall be taken based on appropriate  sampling  techniques.  The applicant shall provide samples for analysis. The payment of analysis cost is guided by Section 16 Payment of Fees of this Circular.

14.4  The PhilGAP inspectors shall submit the report to the GAP Certification Committee   through  the  Program  Technical  Secretariat   within  five  (5) working  days  after  the  conduct  of  all  necessary  inspections,  including follow up inspection of non-compliant items.

14.5  The Program Technical Secretariat shall notify the applicant and GAP Certification Committee within five (5) working days upon receipt of the inspection report and results of laboratory analysis.

Issuance of PhilGAP Certificate

15.1   The PhilGAPCC  shall convene  to act on PhilGAP  applications  and shall have five (5) working days to give recommendations to the BPI Director.

15.2   The  BPI  Director  shall  act  on  the  recommendation  of  the  PhilGAPCC
within five (5) working days.

15.3   The Program Technical Secretariat, upon receipt of the decision of the BPI Director, shall have five (5) working days to notify the applicant regarding the status of the certification.

15.4   The BPI Director shall be the signing authority of all PhilGAP certificates.

15.5   The PhilGAP certificate to be issued shall bear the following information:
a)   PhilGAP Certificate Number;

b)   Farm identification number;

c)     Name of the farm/applicant;

d)   Address of the farm;
e)   Name of farm / crop certified,

f)     Validity period

g)   Signing authority, and;
h)   Terms and conditions
15.6 For  group  certification,  the  issued  PhilGAP  certificate  shall  be accompanied  by an Annex  showing  the list of farmer  members,  area of farm and name of produce.

15.7   The PhilGAP certification entitles the applicant to use the official mark.

15.8   The  applicant   shall  put  up  signboards   and/or   billboards   prominently displayed  in the  PhilGAP  Certified  Farm  with  the  following  specification and information:
Size: 1.2 mx 0.9 m
Height from the ground: 2 m
White background with black letterings

PhilGAP Certified Farm

Name of the Farm:
Farm Identification No.:
Name of the Applicant:
Location of the Farm:
Name of Crops Certified: Area Planted:
Validity period:
SECTION 16. Monitoring of PhilGAP Certified Farms

16.1   Once a farm is granted with a PhilGAP certificate, it shall be subjected to monitoring  for compliance  at least once or as deemed  necessary  during the validity of the certificate.

16.2   The  frequency   of  monitoring   shall  be  based  on  the  inspection   and monitoring report.

SECTION 17. Payment of Fees. Application and cost of required analysis for PhilGAP certification shall be free of charge. In cases of non-compliance to standards, subsequent cost of laboratory analyses shall be shouldered by the applicant.

SECTION 18. Validity and Renewal of PhilGAP Certificate

18.1   The  validity  period  of  the  certificate  is  two  years  (2)  from  the  date  of issuance.

18.2   For  renewal  applications,  the  following  additional  documents  shall  be required:
a.     Updated farm records in the last two (2) years of operation.

b.     Updated list of fertilizers and pesticides used;

c.     Updated   farm   map   (showing   new   areas/expansion   of  areas),   if applicable; and

d.     Revised manual of operation, if applicable;
18.3   Application for renewal should be filed not later than three (3) months prior to the expiry date.

18.4   Renewal  of certification  requires  the re-inspection  of farm  based  on the PhilGAP guidelines. Inspection shall be conducted within three (3) months prior to the expiry date.

18.5  Inspection for the purpose of renewal of certification shall be conducted preferably during the harvesting season to cover as many points in the checklist  as  possible.  In  situations  where  there  is  no  agricultural  crop present at the time when the inspection is due, the BPI may opt to extend the validity of the certificate to 3 months, providing that the applicant has already filed for renewal.

‘PhilGAP Certified’ MARK

SECTION 19. The ‘PhilGAP Certified’ mark is an official logo with prescribed specifications that shall be used EXCLUSIVELY  by a PhilGAP Certified Farm on the specified crop produce and/or in their packaging materials.

SECTION 20. PhilGAP certified farms can use the official mark on letterheads, brochures, and other advertisements and promotional materials.

SECTION  21.  Unauthorized   use  of  the  ‘PHILGAP  Certified’  mark  shall  be subjected  to  the  relevant  provisions  of  the  Consumer  Act  of  the  Philippines (Republic Act 7394 of 1991) and Philippine Patent Laws.


SECTION   22.   Non-compliance   with   the   major   provisions   of   the   relevant Philippine  National Standard  (PNS) Code of Good Agricultural  Practices  (GAP) or failure to comply with any part of the guidelines  as shown by the reports of audit, or reports of investigations of filed complaints (Section 7.2.3) shall result in the  revocation  of  the  PhilGAP  Certificate,  including  the  privilege  of  using  the PhilGAP Certified mark.

SECTION 23. The PhilGAP Certificate recipient with valid and justifiable reasons can submit an appeal for reconsideration.


SECTION  24. Information  on production  practices,  customer  list, complaint  log and others,  submitted  by applicants  for approval  shall not be released  to any party or to the public in general without written permission from the applicant.

SECTION 25. However, the following general information may be released:
a.    Name, address and telephone number of the applicant;
b.    Date of approval;
c.    Any information to comply with a court order; and
d.     Any information to comply with a request from the PhilGAPCC investigating an alleged complaint.

SECTION  26. All personnel  involved  in PhilGAP  certification  with a conflict  of interest  must  make  the  conflict  known  and  not  participate  in  discussions  or decisions regarding the applicant under review.


SECTION 27. Any person whose existing GAP CERTIFICATE has been revoked or whose application for a GAP certificate has been denied, may appeal in writing within fifteen (15) days after receiving the written notification of the revocation or denial. The appeal shall state all the facts and reasons upon which the appellant bases his appeal which will be acted within sixty (60) days from receipt.


SECTION 28: Separability

If any provision of this Circular is declared invalid or unconstitutional, the other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in full force and effect.


These implementing rules and regulations shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

So ordered.

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