2014 National Children’s On-the-Spot Chemistry Poster Making Competition Winners

By Glenn Tan

The Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS) recently concluded the 4th National Children’s Chemistry On-the-Spot Poster Making Competition. The awarding ceremony was held during the 29th Philippine Chemistry Congress last April 9-11, 2014 at the Villa Caceres Hotel in Naga City, Camarines Sur. Daniel Aaron Lucban (Bambang Elementary School) won first place; Carlos Miguel Lacson (Ambray Elementary School) won second place; and Ainer Brean Padrigo (Philippine Tiong Se Academy) won third place.

Deniel Aaron Lucban (Bambang Elementary School) FIRST PLACE

Deniel Aaron Lucban
(Bambang Elementary School)
FIRST PLACE

Carlos Miguel Lacson (Ambay Elementary School) SECOND PLACE

Carlos Miguel Lacson
(Ambay Elementary School)
SECOND PLACE

Ainer Brean Padrigo (Tiong Se Academy) THIRD PLACE

Ainer Brean Padrigo
(Tiong Se Academy)
THIRD PLACE

The Poster Making Competition, open to students in Grades 4-7 from private and public schools all over the country, provided an opportunity for its participants to show artistic ability and critical thinking. The elimination round was held on February 15, 2014 at the following host schools.

  1. Ateneo de Davao University
  2. Ateneo de Manila University
  3. De La Salle University (DLSU)
  4. Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology
  5. Silliman University
  6. University of the Philippines – Diliman
  7. University of the Philippines – Los Banos
  8. University of Santo Tomas
  9. University of San Carlos
  10. Xavier University

Contestants were given 2 hours and 30 minutes to create a poster on the theme “Health, Energy, and Chemistry”, and poster submissions were evaluated on creativity, originality, and relevance to the theme. Three local winners were each given PHP 2000 and qualified as finalists for the national award. The Board of Judges, comprised of Armando Guidote, Jr. PhD (PFCS President), Emmanuel Garcia (PACT), and Nick Tan (ICP, St. Scholastica’s College), selected one poster for each of the top three national awards. The first prize winner received PHP 7,000 and free overnight accomodations and round-trip airfare tickets to Naga City, while 2nd and 3rd prize winners received PHP 5,000, and PHP 3,000, respectively.

The Poster Making Competition was coordinated by Glenn V. Alea, PhD. (DLSU) and was sponsored by C&E Publishing, Inc., CHEMREZ Technologies, Shell, and Boysen The No. 1 Paint.


Philippine National Chemistry Olympiad, 2014

by Nestor Valera

The Philippine National Chemistry Olympiad (PNCO) was successfully held at the Ateneo de Naga University in Naga City Tuesday, April 8, 2014. The winners were:

  1. Champion Michael Castro (Philippine Science High School – Main Campus)
  2. 1st Runner-up Justin Adriel Zent G. Togonon (PSHS – Western Visayas Campus)
  3. 2nd Runner-up Bienvenido Luis Castro (UP Rural High School)

There were a total of 26 delegates representing 11 regions in the country:

  1. NCR (Michael Castro and Esteven Evio; coached by Efren Paz)
  2. CAR (Rutherford Calawagan, Robert Aguilar, and Jim Bagano; coached by Melba Patacsil)
  3. Region II (Ralph Ido and Tasha Soliven; coached by Wowee Ariza and Ruchi Lagitnay)
  4. Region III ( Moises Ubungin and Joseph Cruz; coached by Rohit Tilwani, Lexter Natividad and Mark Bailon)
  5. Region IV (Judy An Balquiran, Bienvenido Castro, and Marc Fang; coached by Edison Boongaling and Pauline Pena)
  6. Region V (Catherine Abella, Al Christian Gobres, and Denise Leinsoco; coached by Alpha Pimentel)
  7. Region VI ( Justin Togonon and Juan Retirado; coached by Erika Salvador and Cynthia de Asis)
  8. Region VII ( Leibniz Respecia and Wand Ybanez; coached by Patrick LIm and Mary Joy Moncada)
  9. Region X (John Rizada, Lawrence Magsayo, and Brian Hingpi; coached by Gay Madrazo and Ethel Neoniz)
  10. Region XI (Zam Doctolero, Marian Yu, and Angila Aala; coached by Micheal Casas, Marcel Torilla, and Rochelle Papasin)
  11. CARAGA (Mylet Curilan; coached by Letecia Villanueva)

The PNCO is a pre-requisite of the International Chemistry Olympiad which is a multi-tiered competition that brings together the world’s most talented high school students to test their knowledge and skills in chemistry. Nations around the world conduct examinations to — nominate the most high-performing students for the International Chemistry Olympiad.

The event was sponsored by the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas and by the DOST-SEI.
The full report on the PNCO can be found in:
https://www.facebook.com/download/245936955604441/PNCO%202014.pdf

Quality Assurance Symposium for Analytical and Testing Laboratories

By Fortunato Sevilla III

A symposium on Quality Assurance in Analytical and Testing Laboratories was held on 10 April 2014 during one session of the 29th Philippine Chemistry Congress in Villa Caceres in Naga. It was organized by the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas – Division of Analytical Sciences (KKP-DAS) in cooperation with the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS).

The symposium opened with a keynote lecture presented by Dr. Aida Aguinaldo, a consultant of ASEAN Food Data Systems, on “Philippine Analytical / Testing Laboratories and ASEAN 2015”. Dr. Aguinaldo highlighted the challenge to meet the demand for quality analytical and testing data as basis for important decisions, particularly as the commencement of an ASEAN community approaches in 2015.

A series of talks on best practices and outcomes were delivered by speakers from a number of industry and testing laboratories. The speakers highlighted success stories, problems and adopted solutions in Philippine analytical and testing laboratories. The talks focused on the various important topics involved in quality assurance. Noel Lopena, quality assurance manager of San Miguel Brewery, discussed “Method Validation”, as practiced in their laboratories. Patricia Parales, laboratory manager of F.A.S.T. Laboratories talked on good practices in the “Calibration of Laboratory Equipment”. Benilda Ebarvia of the DOST- Industrial Technology Development Institute shared her experience on the “Development Of A Proficiency Testing / Reference Material For Benzoic Acid In Fruit Juices”.

A talk on “Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis” was presented by Rubylene Lasmarinas-Osila , Technical Manager, Manila Geochem, SGS Philippines Inc. The importance of “Internal Quality Control” was discussed by Frances Evelyn Palaris-Robles , Technical Director of the Philippine Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry, Inc. and of the Association of Drug Industries of the Philippines Quality Control Cooperative). “Proficiency Testing” was the topic of the talk of Ena Bernal, Group Manager of the Central Laboratory of the Universal Robina Corporation. The experience of their laboratory in “Laboratory Accreditation” was related by Lily Molina, Laboratory and Quality Manager of the International Rice Research Institute. The good practices in “Environmental Sampling and Sample Handling” were described by Juliana C. Oriña, Laboratory Director, CRL Environmental Corporation. The presentations were well appreciated by the audience in the SRO sessions of the symposium. The sessions were chaired by Dr. Florenda Valera of the University of the Philippines and Dr. Christina Binag of the University of Santo Tomas.

CdO Hosts Training-workshop on Chemical Safety and Security

By Admer Rey C. Dablio

Various laboratories in Mindanao participated in the Training-Workshop on Chemical Safety and Security organized by the Northern Mindanao Laboratory Consortium Foundation, Inc., in collaboration with the Chemistry Department of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Rio Verde Water Consortium Foundation, Inc. and the Regional Standards and the Testing Laboratories of the Department of Science and Technology Region X (DOST-X). The event was held at the Limketkai Luxe Hotel, Limketkai Center, C.M. Recto Avenue, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City on 12-14 May 2014.

The three-day workshop aimed at increasing safety and security awareness of laboratories handling chemicals. This training was designed for all safety and security officers and laboratory personnel from private, government, and academic laboratories, processing plants, agricultural chemical producers or distributors, chemical transportation industry, inspectors for health, environment, customs, and higher education, and safety and security enforcement agencies. Participated chiefly by chemists and chemical engineers, nonetheless there were biologists, medical tech-nologists, food technologists, laboratory technicians, safety supervisor, disaster risk reduction officer, safety, health and environment officer, sanitation officer, licensing officer, and owner of a chemical distribution company.

Chemists who completed the Chemical Safety and Security Officer (CSSO) Training facilitated by Sandia National Laboratories under the United States of America Department of State, held in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines were the resource speakers of this training-workshop.

Jomarie P. Enerio, M.S. Chem is currently a Chemical Safety Officer at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. She attended the CSSO Training in 2012 in Davao City. Faustino M. Tarongoy Jr., M.S. Chem is also a Chemical Safety Officer at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan and Chairman of the Chemistry Department in 2008 to 2011 and 2012 to 2013. Tarongoy actively participated in the 2009 CSSO Training in Bangkok, Thailand and he shared his knowledge on the subject during the 2012 training in Davao City. Tarongoy represented the Philippines in 2011 in the Associate Program on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany.

Resource Speaker, Faustino Tarongoy

The lead resource speaker of the training-workshop was Patrick John Y. Lim, Ph.D. of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. He became involved in chemical safety and security through collaborations with experts from Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, U.S.A., culminating with his appointment to a U.S. National Academies Committee on Promoting Safe and Secure Chemical Management in Developing Countries from 2009 to 2010. His engagement in chemical safety and security included travels to conduct training in Pakistan and Yemen, and to attend workshops in Australia, Thailand, Switzerland, and the U.S.A. His latest travel to Spiez, Switzerland was as a discussant for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Workshop 2012, on Impacts of Scientific Development on the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Resource Speaker, Jomarie Enerio

Participants appreciated the productivities borne out of the training-workshop because these learning have practical upshot in the improvement of their laboratories and in the assessment of the hazards involved with handling chemicals and chemical wastes. Julebelle A. Eltanal from the Department of Health Region 10, a medical technologist assigned at the licensing division of the agency checking on the laboratories, facilities, and services for drinking water testing in the region, said that she is very thankful of this training because she is now more aware of what are the things she should check during the conduct of laboratory safety inspection or audit and she can now give inputs and suggestions for the improvement of the audited laboratory.

Participants similarly visited the Regional Standards and Testing Laboratories of the DOST-X where a laboratory inspection and chemical safety and security audit were conducted. They noted some good features and practices of DOST-X laboratories which they may adopt in their own laboratories.

Resource Speaker Dr. Lim with participants

Engr. Joffrey E. Hapitan, President of the Board of Trustees of NorMin LABCON and Senior Vice-President for Operations of Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc., said that more training-workshops will be conducted by NorMin LABCON as the foundation’s desire to improve its capabilities is continually burning.

Texas-based Cancer Researcher Visits PH

By Jan Patrick Calupitan

Dr. Marites P. Melancon, a US-based scientist, visited Philippine universities and research institutions last March 15 to Apr. 14, 2014 to share her expertise, strengthen research linkages, and generously conducted workshop-seminars. Dr. Melancon is an Assistant Professor in the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where she specializes on developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic agents for cancer therapy based on nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is research field focusing on materials in the nanometer scale. At this level, materials have new emergent properties that promise a wired range of applications in medicine, energy, computer science and information technology.

Dr. Melancon gave lectures in the University of San Carlos, De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, and The Medical City on nanotechnology-based innovations in the biomedical field. These include simultaneous detection and therapy of cancer using gold and magnetic nanostructures. She also facilitated a workshop on the synthesis of nanostructures at the Ateneo de Manila University on April 3 and 4, 2014. Participants learned the basics of making magnetic gold nanoparticles, which they used to image cancer cells. Researchers, medical doctors, and faculty members from The Medical City, University of the Philippines – Diliman, University of the Philippines – Los Baños, and Ateneo de Manila University benefited from the talk. “There are many opportunities for research in the biomedical field here in the Philippines,” she quoted in one of her lecture talks.

Dr. Melancon graduated bachelors in Chemistry from the University of San Carlos, MS Chemistry from the Ateneo de Manila University, and PhD in Biomedical Science from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas. Besides her numerous journal publications, she won several research awards, including the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence from the National Institutes of Health. She is presently a reviewer of various specialized journals in biomedicine, medical physics, and nanomedicine.

Besides having a hectic schedule in her visit to the country, she was able to attend the Philippine Chemistry Congress in Naga City on April 9-11, 2014 where she gave a presentation on polymeric materials. Her research visit made possible through the Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), which was hosted by the Chemistry Department of the Ateneo de Manila University thru Dr. Erwin P. Enriquez.

Focus: Ateneo de Davao

By Michael Casas

The Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) is a Catholic, Jesuit, and Filipino University founded in 1946. Through the years, ADDU went through institutional, academic, and structural expansions guided by its mission to become a leader in educational reform in the Southern Philippines.

The commitment of this university to excel in instruction, research, relevant community extension, and formation of men and women rooted in the Ignatian values, merited the numerous recognitions it received. Among the distinctions of ADDU include the PAASCU Level III Accreditation and Autonomous Status from CHED. Just recently, the university is included in the Top 300 Schools in Asia, 5th in the Philippines, and the only university based in Mindanao, that reached the QS Ranking of Academic institutions in Asia. All these validated the pursuit of the university to provide excellent academic programs and services in all its departments.

addu1

The ADDU Chemistry Department under the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Cluster of the School of Arts and Sciences offers the bachelor (established in 1969) and masteral (established in the early 1990s) programs in Chemistry. The board exam passing rate of the undergraduates has always been above the national mean and recently consistent at 100%. Several of its alumni received the BPI-DOST Science awards, topped the licensure examinations, as well as the University Graduation Awards. The recent increase in enrolment in the MS Chemistry program is notable due to the continuous upgrading of the department’s faculty profile and facilities.

The department was a Commission on Higher Education – Center of Development (CHED-COD) in 2004 and is presently granted the Level III Accreditation by PAASCU. The department continues to build strategic partnerships with various organizations including CHED, DOST, RHRDC, PITAHC and ICP. The department’s competent faculty teaching undergraduate and graduate courses are holding master’s and doctorate degrees and are sent for trainings within the country and abroad. The faculty’s expertise and research interest are on Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, and Natural Products with many of their research outputs published in ISI-indexed journals. Faculty received research grants and awards from DOST, CHED, RHRDC, and the ADDU University Research Council.

addu2

The department also maintains the ADDU-Chemistry Analytical and Research Laboratory (CARL) to serve as a service laboratory for third party analysis and a research and advanced chemistry laboratory for undergraduate and graduate students. ADDU-CARL houses state-of-the-art instruments including a Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS), High Performance Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC), UV-Visible Spectrophotometers (UV-Vis), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer (FTIR), Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS), Electrochemical instruments, UDK Distillation unit, polarimeter, refractometer and bomb calorimeter.

The Northern Mindanao Laboratory Consortium (NorMin LABCON)

By Sylvia A. Khu

With the financial assistance from the Department of Science and Technology Regional Office (DOST-X), some 26 analytical laboratories from seventeen academic institutions, government agencies, and food and industrial companies located at the Cagayan-Iligan Corridor formed the Northern Mindanao Laboratory Consortium, Inc. now famously known as NorMin LABCON.

NorMin LABCON is composed of analytical laboratories coming from academic institutions: Central Mindanao University, Mindanao State University-Naawan, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, and Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan; government agencies: Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Department of Science and Technology; and private laboratories: Asia Brewery, Inc., Busco Sugar Milling Co., Inc., Cagayan de Oro Water District, Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc., Del Monte Philippines, Inc., Nestle Philippines, Inc., Pilipinas Kao, Inc., Philippine Sinter Corporation, and RI Chemicals, Inc.

The consortium established with a mission to make it a venue for the continuous growth and development of member laboratories. It is committed to provide and implement quality services through continuous upgrading of facilities and capabilities of each member and help maintain a healthy environment for the Filipino people and for future generations through waste minimization, recycling of chemicals and proper waste disposal.

labcon1

Furthermore, the consortium has a vision of creating an internationally competent testing and metrological laboratories geared towards sustainable development. With this vision in mind, since 1998, NorMin LABCON has sponsored a number of training-workshops, seminars and various activities.

NorMin LABCON started with a seminar on ISO Guide 25 in 1998. One year after, the consortium produced a brochure of the founding members which featured the capabilities of the member laboratories. This brochure was very helpful because it provided a network of connection among member institutions on the conduct of various physical and chemical analyses.

In 2001, the consortium became a foundation when it was officially registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and was then officially named as Northern Mindanao Laboratory Consortium Foundation, Inc. In the same year, a seminar-workshop on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) was organized which was well participated by laboratories in Northern Mindanao, even those which were not members. Four years after, a seminar-workshop on Method Validation and Measurement Uncertainty, in conformance with PNS ISO/IEC 17025:2000, was successfully organized. This actually gave laboratories in the region the knowledge in preparation for their application for laboratory accreditation. This is the same year that the Regional Standards and Testing Laboratories (RSTL) of DOST-X was granted the PNS ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for chemical and microbiological testing, the first in the region and the first among DOST regional laboratories. By 2006, the consortium continued giving seminar-workshop, this time on Calibration.

The NorMin LABCON family expanded as it accepted new members in 2008, Liceo de Cagayan University and Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc. Having Rio Verde as a new member, an educational tour was conducted at its Water Treatment Plant in Baungon, Bukidnon. The year 2009 was a productive year for the consortium. It started with a three-day training-workshop which covered calibration of laboratory balances and volumetric ware, measurement uncertainty, laboratory safety and the preparation of Material Safety Data Sheet. This training-workshop actually had experts from the Department of Science and Technology Region 7 as resource speakers.

Few months later, a seminar on Introduction to ISO Accreditation was conducted which was co-sponsored by DOST-X and was funded by DOST-Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI). NorMin LABCON also prepared and submitted a proposal to DOST-Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD) on the preparation of reference material and organizing a proficiency testing for inter-laboratory comparison among testing laboratories in the region. Although the proposal was denied, the consortium took it as a challenge to come up with more milestone activities to enhance competitiveness of its member laboratories.

The consortium became dormant for several years, but it did make a big come back in 2013 when it brought an expert from Eurachem to the Philippines. With the help of Admer Rey C. Dablio, a licensed chemist, an on-the-job trainee at DOST-X in 2009 and was a volunteer of the consortium in the same year, and a close contact of Lorens Peter Sibbesen of Eurachem, the training-workshops on Measurement Uncertainty of Analytical Results and Internal Quality Control in the Analytical Laboratory were fully materialized. Sibbesen is the current Chairman of the Method Validation Working Group within Eurachem, Secretary of EUROLAB Denmark, and owner of Denmark’s LAB Quality International. Sibbesen and Dablio were contacts since 2012.

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The training-workshops, which were both held at Cagayan de Oro City, were the first training-workshops organized by NorMin LABCON which welcomed participants not only coming from Mindanao, but from various laboratories in the country. In his message, DOST-10 regional director Alfonso Alamban said that the activity aims at improving the capacities of testing and analytical laboratories in the Philippines. “Our country wants to be ready for ASEAN economic integration come 2015. We want to see a more competent science and technology services and in tackling issues on compliance to worldwide product standard and product safety,” Alamban stressed. Sibbesen said that it was the first time that training-workshops with a speaker from Eurachem were organized in the Philippines and even in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, he shared that he has conducted hundreds of training-workshops all over the world and he has noted that the one conducted in Cagayan de Oro City was the most organized. He was also amazed at the Filipino culture and hospitality. It was his first time to visit the Philippines.

Just recently, during the 25th year anniversary celebration of Eurachem on 19-21 May 2014 at Lisbon, Portugal, wherein the Philippines sent chemist representatives coming from DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), Sibbesen still acknowledged the big success of the training-workshops held at Cagayan de Oro City and he looks forward to more in the Philippines. Also, in the recent communication of Dablio with Sibbesen and Bertil Magnusson, the current President of Eurachem, they are looking forward to another set of training in the country for 2014 and 2015.

For the year 2014, NorMin LABCON continued its service to laboratories in the country as it organized a training-workshop on Chemical Safety and Security on 12-14 May 2014. This was a well-participated and very productive training-workshop as participants were able to learn many inputs from resource persons who completed Chemical Safety and Security Officer training under the US Sandia National Laboratories of the Department of State. NorMin LABCON currently conducts survey on the training needs of analytical laboratories in the country. This survey, which will end by 31 May 2014, will give the consortium an idea of what will be the next set of training that NorMin LABCON will organize for 2014 and 2015, especially the training in partnership with experts from Eurachem.

The activities conducted by the consortium are meters of NorMin LABCON’s mileage based on its mission and vision. The consortium is currently headed by Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc. as the President of the Board of Trustees, DOST-X as the Vice-President and Liceo de Cagayan University as the Treasurer. NorMin LABCON has also been strong since it was established through the dynamic teamwork by the Technical Working Group headed by Lina G. Kwong, Ph.D. of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan and composed of specialists from DOST-X: Engr. Romela N. Ratilla, D.P.A., Sylvia A. Khu, M.P.A. and Admer Rey C. Dablio.

In a speech by Engr. Joffrey E. Hapitan, NorMin LABCON’s President of the Board of Trustees and Senior Vice-President for operations of Rio Verde, he said that “Our desire to improve our capabilities is continually burning. At this stage, it is best to equip ourselves with knowledge on the general requirements for the competence to carry out tests and calibrations. NorMin LABCON will continue to achieve its mission and vision.”