The Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s Institutional Ethics Review Committee or FIERC held its first organizational meeting in February 9, 2018. The meeting was organized by the FIERC Secretariat to welcome the new members of the committee. Present during the meeting were Dr. Gemiliano DL. Aligui, the newly appointed Chair, Dr. Rodolfo F. Florentino, Co-Chair, Ms. Evelyn Villapando, lay member and two new members, Dr. Rodolfo E. Sumayao, Jr. and Rev. Fr. Lucrecio V. Paquet. Two other FIERC members, Dr. Marie Joy B. Arguillas and Rev. Fr. Leonardo E. Dollentas were out of the country during the meeting. FIERC affiliates who are composed of representatives from selected FNRI technical divisions were also invited to the meeting.
FNRI Director Dr. Mario V. Capanzana in his welcoming remarks thanked the new members of the committee for accepting the invitation to join the FIERC. He also expressed his deep gratitude to Dr. Aligui for once again agreeing to chair the committee. He hopes that more than implementing scientifically-sound research and development (R&D) projects, the committee will assist DOST-FNRI to ensure that the rights, safety, and well-being of its researches’ human participants are protected through provision of ethical clearance.
Ms. Aguilos presented the activities of the committee in 2017. A total of 21 protocols were extensively reviewed by the committee, 11 of which were by the full board, 8 through expedited review and two (2) were declared exempted by the committee. Basic Ethics and Good Clinical Practice Trainings were also provided to the FIERC Members and Secretariat in 2017.
The FIERC got its Level III accreditation from the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB) in May 2016 which is valid until May 2019. This 2018, the challenge of the present committee is to maintain the accreditation and make the necessary preparations for the re-assessment scheduled in the first quarter of 2019. Some of the activities lined up are the updating of the FIERC’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and continued provision of capacity building activities to the FIERC members and FNRI researchers.
With the full support of the DOSTFNRI Management, the reorganized FIERC will continue to provide ethical review and clearance to the Institute’s research protocols to ensure the protection of dignity and welfare of research study participants.