The following procedure and requirements is based on the Department Circular No. 01, Series of 2018 (Revised Guidelines for Official Accreditation of Organic Certifying Bodies):
- The BAFS defines a dispute as difference of opinion between the officially accredited OCB or the organic certification body to be officially accredited and the BAFS with regard to:
- Interpretation of a requirement of applicable PNS relevant for organic agriculture;
- Interpretation of this Circular; or
- Quality procedure of the BAFS Official Accreditation.
- The officially accredited OCB or the organic certification body to be officially accredited can file a case of dispute to BAFS Director in writing. The BAFS shall consult with the parties involved and with the NCOA-OCB and makes a decision based on the documents submitted by the officially accredited OCB or the organic certifying body to be officially accredited to substantiate such dispute. The decision will be communicated to the parties in writing.
- All complaints shall be received by BAFS and shall serve as reference during assessments depending on the gravity, motive, and substance of the complaints.
- Complaints against OCB shall be first lodged with the OCB concern.
- For complaints regarding officially accredited OCB, the following procedures shall apply:
- Upon receipt of the complaint, either through mail, personal delivery or electronic data messages/ electronic documents, it should be acted upon by the concerned officially accredited OCB within fifteen (15) working days. Otherwise, the complainant may file a complaint against an OCB with BAFS.
- The receipt of complaint shall be acted upon by the BAFS.
- Where the BAFS considers the complaint to be sufficiently substantiated, it shall notify the OCB concerned and shall require a written explanation within fifteen (15) working days.
- The written explanation provided by the OCB shall be referred to the NCOA-OCB for appropriate action.
- The NCOA-OCB shall convene to discuss the lodged complaint, written explanation provided by the OCB concern, and come up with recommendations for consideration of the BAFS Director.
The appeal procedures shall apply in the following situations:
- Denial of Issuance of Official Accreditation of OCB
- The applicant may file an appeal with BAFS to reconsider such decision attaching substantial documentation or the strategies to address the cause of such decision within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt of notification for denied application.
- The NCOA-OCB shall evaluate the proposed remedial actions including the implementation timeline of the OCB to be officially accredited, and shall send a copy of the decision to the said OCB for its implementation.
- The applicant shall notify the BAFS of its compliance by submitting objective evidences of actions taken. Within fifteen (15) working days, an assessment team shall validate the evidence of implementation of the corrective action plan.
- The NCOA-OCB shall review, evaluate, and decide on the filed appeal based on the assessment report.
- If the NCOA-OCB decides that reconsideration is not warranted, the appeal will be denied stating the reasons and a reiteration of the OCB’s right to pursue its application one (1) month after the denial of the appeal.
- If the NCOA-OCB decides that the appeal is meritorious, the NCOA-OCB may reverse the denial decision and proceed with the granting of official accreditation as provided in Clauses 2.2 to 2.3, Section 2 of Article VII.
- Suspension/Revocation of the Official Accreditation Certificate
- The officially accredited OCB may file an appeal with BAFS through formal written request within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt of notice ofsuspension/revocation.
- The appeal must be accompanied by a report specifying the major documented errors of fact and how such errors contributed to the suspension/revocation decision, together with other relevant substantiating documentation.
- The BAFS shall grant or deny the officially accredited OCB’s appeal of the suspension/revocation decision based on the statement of reason/s and submitted documented facts within thirty (30) calendar days from receipt of the appeal. The action will be based solely on the report and the supporting documentation submitted by the officially accredited OCB in accordance with the nature of the non-conformance that led to the suspension/revocation decision.
- If the NCOA-OCB decides that the appeal is not meritorious, the appeal will be denied with a statement of reasons and such decision shall be final and executory.
- In case the appeal on the original suspension decision is meritorious, the BAFS shall lift the suspension or reverse the revocation decision based on the recommendations of the NCOA-OCB, and grant official accreditation.
- The decision for the appeal of suspension/revocation shall be decided by majority vote of the NCOA-OCB.