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The Philippine Chemistry Community Strongly Urges our Legislators to Use Science in Drafting Laws: The Death Penalty Bill and the Inclusion of Precursor and Essential Chemicals

The Philippine Chemistry Community, represented by the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS) strongly urges our legislators to use SCIENCE in drafting laws.  House Bill 001, otherwise known as the “Death Penalty Law”, aims to address the scourge of dangerous drugs in Philippine society.  While we recognize this important concern, we oppose the provisions that equate dangerous drugs themselves with precursor and essential chemicals.  Because their importance in industry, agriculture, health, education, and research, inclusion of these chemicals must be done with adequate scientific knowledge.

We wish to note the following important points:

  1. The bill does not define and identify what are precursor chemicals and essential chemicals. Virtually all precursor chemicals and essential chemicals are multi-use chemicals.  Precursor chemicals may also be precursors to other important products, such as pharmaceuticals, fragrances, cosmetics, agro-chemicals, and others. Likewise, essential chemicals may also be essential for many other purposes, including household and health uses. The cost to the economy can be staggering. The proposed bill is not scientifically rational.
  2. Mere possession of a precursor chemical or an essential chemical is not equivalent to possession or manufacture of dangerous drugs. The proposed bill will criminalize legitimate users, and raise the cost of goods and damage the economy.  This will also provide many opportunities for corruption.
  3. The bill equates pure substances with mixtures. It does not distinguish a compound that is relatively pure with its presence in an essential oil or spice at 1% composition. It will criminalize possession of many medicinal plants and cooking ingredients.

This topic of precursor chemicals and essential chemicals should be discussed extensively together with experts in the field and with industry manufacturers.

The PFCS is composed of four organizations: the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP), Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas (KKP), Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers (PACT) and Philippine Association of Chemistry Students (PACS).

Signed,

Armando M. Guidote Jr., PhD
President, PFCS

Fabian M. Dayrit, PhD
President, ICP

Nestor S. Valera, PhD
President, KKP

Jose M. Andaya, PhD
President, PACT

John Michael Porca
President, PACS

USC Chem Hosts Security and Safety Workshop

Sixteen chemistry practitioners from Mindanao higher educational institutions along with eight University of San Carlos participants attended the Workshop on Security and Safety in Universities from January 17–20, 2017 held at the Josef Baumgartner Learning Resource Center-Virtual Training Room (JB LRC-VTR) in Talamban Campus, Nasipit, Cebu City.

Under the leadership of chair Eugene T. Bacolod, Ph.D., the USC Department of Chemistry hosted the workshop, which was organized by the International Biological and Chemical Threat Reduction (IBCTR) program of Sandia National Laboratories based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Former American Chemical Society president Nancy B. Jackson, Ph.D., from Sandia’s IBCTR program, and USC chemistry professor Patrick John Y. Lim, Ph.D. served as trainers for the three-and-a-half day workshop. Sandia logistical analyst Bernadette Garcia de Rodriguez accompanied Dr. Jackson and handled the arrangements for the Mindanao participants.

Participants and organizers of the security and safety workshop pose outside the JB LRC-VTR.

Participants to the workshop included one dean and four chairs of departments from seven HEIs in Mindanao, namely Agnes T. Aranas (Ateneo de Davao University), Cellyn A. Verallo (Ateneo de Zamboanga University), Julius O. Campecino, Maria Cristina A. Dancel, Ellen dV. Inutan, Joel H. Jorolan, Rachel Anne E. Lagunay, Myrna S. Mahinay, Joanna Kristine E. Pancho, Lunesa C. Pinzon (all from Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology), Grace Prado (MSU-Naawan), Maria Cleofe N. Badang (University of Immaculate Conception), Girlie D. Leopoldo and Rengel Cane E. Sia (University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines), and Heide R. Rabanes and Aileen B. Angcajas (Xavier University).

Carolinian participants included Rolly Viesca (Biology), Leonila N. Adarna, Jinky Y. Derla, Sharajen A. Julasiri, Gail Jeremias B. Posas (all from Chemistry), Nikki Marie O. Marquez and Marie Kristie B. Reyes (Water Laboratory), and Talamban Campus Pollution Control Officer Esmeralda S. Cuizon.

The workshop covered security and safety issues including international and national regulations, dual-use chemicals, risk assessment, physical security of chemicals, chemical management and inventory, formulation of standard operating procedures, personal protective equipment, fire protection and prevention, and a security by design module which featured a laboratory design exercise.

Call for Nominations of FACS Awards & Citation 2017

On behalf of the President of Federation of Asian Chemical Society (FACS), Prof. Jasim Uddin Ahmad, I would like inform you that we will be presenting the following Awards at the 17th Asian Chemical Congress (17h ACC) that will be held in Melbourne, Australia from 23-28 July, 2017.

  1. Foundation Lectureship Award 2016 in Analytical Chemistry
  2. Distinguished Young Chemist Award 2016 in Organic Chemistry
  3. Distinguished Contribution to Economic Advancement Award
  4. Distinguished Contribution to Chemical Education Award
  5. FACS Citations for Contributions to Chemistry in the Asia-Pacific Region

Nominations are invited from member societies for the above Awards and Citation, and only one nomination is allowed for each Award from each member society. The closing date for submission of the nominations is on 31 January 2017. Please submit the nominations to following address or via email to:

Prof. Dr. Md. Wahab Khan – FACS Secretariat
c/o Bangladesh Chemical Society
10/11 Eastern Plaza, Sonargaon Road, Hatirpool, Dhaka-1205, Bangladesh

Department of Chemistry, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET)
Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh
Tel +8801552466300
Email: mwkhan@chem.buet.ac.bd

Click here to download the nomination form.

Invitation to Apply to the OPCW Associate Programme 2017

  1. The Technical Secretariat (hereinafter “the Secretariat”) wishes to inform Member States of its intention to hold the OPCW Associate Programme 2017 in The Hague, the Netherlands, and elsewhere from 28 July to 29 September 2017. The Programme aims to foster a better understanding of the objectives of the Chemical Weapons Convention (hereinafter “the Convention”) and to promote the peaceful uses of chemistry, with an emphasis on chemical safety.
  2. The objectives of the Programme are to:
    1. facilitate national implementation of the Convention in relation to the chemical industry;
    2. enhance national capacities in Member States by offering training to personnel from industry, academic institutions, and government in chemistry, chemical engineering, and related areas;
    3. facilitate trade through the adoption of sound practices in the chemical industry; and
    4. broaden the talent pool for industry-related positions in the National Authorities, institutions, and economies of the Member States, as well as in the Secretariat.
  3. The Programme is designed for chemists and chemical engineers, especially from Member States whose economies are either developing or in transition. It has been designed to give them access to the skills and experience required to operate effectively in the context of the modern chemical industry. The Programme for 2017 will accommodate 32 participants.
  4. In order to attract highly qualified applicants, the Secretariat requests the assistance of National Authorities in disseminating this invitation to relevant organisations.
  5. The provisional programme includes the following components:
    1. an induction segment at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague (approximately one week), aimed at offering an overview of the Convention and the various aspects of the work of the OPCW. This segment also includes lectures on the activities of National Authorities and other relevant Convention stakeholders (the European Chemical Industry Council, the European Association of Chemical Distributors, the European Chemicals Agency, the World Customs Organization, etc.) as well as study visits to the Delft University of Technology, the head office of the Dutch Customs Administration in Rotterdam, and the Port of Rotterdam. During the induction segment, participants will choose research projects and start working on them in pairs under the supervision of OPCW inspectors. Participants will also be trained on various safety and security aspects of operational environment in chemical plants;
    2. a university segment (three weeks), consisting of chemical engineering training at the University of Surrey in Guildford, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and comprising: a course aimed at developing skills in relation to chemical engineering (relevant areas include process operations, mass balancing, risk assessment, safety management, etc.); training on specific skills needed in the field of industrial management (communication, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving); and the application of the acquired skills and knowledge in a simulated company environment;
    3. an intermediate segment (one week) at OPCW Headquarters, including a two-day inspection table-top exercise and study visits to the OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store. Time will also be allotted for working on the research projects selected during the induction segment;
    4. an industrial segment (three weeks), during which participants will be placed in chemical plants in Member States to gain exposure to modern practices in chemical industries, with a focus on chemical safety; and
    5. a final segment (one week) at OPCW Headquarters, which will include presentations of the industrial assignments, research projects, and a final review period.
  6. Since English will be the language of instruction, it is essential that all participants be able to understand, read, and communicate proficiently in this language, both orally and in writing. Any candidate who is found, upon arrival in The Hague, not to meet this requirement may not be allowed to participate in the Programme.
  7. The Secretariat invites applications from candidates who have a first degree (BSc or equivalent) in chemistry or in chemical or process engineering from a university or another recognised institution of higher learning, and a minimum of five years’ relevant work experience (for example, in the chemical industry, in process engineering, or in plant and production operations). In addition, a working background with a National Authority or other government agency involved in the implementation of either the Convention or a comparable international regulatory instrument would be an advantage.
  8. The Secretariat can accept applications only from nationals of the OPCW Member States. Applicants will be carefully screened, and only those considered to be the most suitable will be interviewed. Selections are normally made several weeks after the application deadline.
  9. Once candidates have been selected, they may be required to undergo a medical fitness test, which is designed to assess their ability to use chemical protection equipment and to work with hazardous materials. Any health condition that might affect a prospective participant’s fitness for this intensive programme should be declared in the medical history form that successful applicants will be required to fill out. These candidates will also be required to sign a confidentiality agreement with the OPCW. A copy of this document, along with an information note containing details of the arrangements regarding the Programme, will be made available only to those candidates who have been accepted for participation.
  10. The OPCW will cover the costs of Programme-related travel, accommodation, meals, course fees, and medical and travel insurance for all participants while the Programme is being conducted.
  11. It is mandatory for participants to attend all the activities scheduled under the Programme. Participants are expected to undergo the training at any location as determined and allocated by the OPCW.
  12. Withdrawal from the Programme: In the event of a withdrawal at any stage, the Secretariat will notify the relevant Permanent Representations and National Authorities of the withdrawal of the candidate concerned. The candidate may, at the discretion of the OPCW, be liable for a partial or full refund of any associated financial loss incurred as a result of the withdrawal.
  13. Break in the training: Breaks in the Programme are not allowed, except in the case of force majeure.
  14. When making travel arrangements, the Secretariat will seek the most economical options, and will purchase tickets and send them to participants. Participants will be allowed to purchase tickets locally only if this leads to further savings for the Secretariat, and if the Secretariat authorises it. In order for the Secretariat to keep costs to a minimum, participants are expected to arrive no earlier than 27 July 2017 and to depart no later than 30 September 2017.
  15. The agreement of the Secretariat is required for any changes to the arrival and departure dates of the participants. The Secretariat will not cover expenses unrelated to the Programme or that result from changes in travel arrangements it has not authorised. Participants must bear all costs resulting from changes that they make, including cancellations, once the Secretariat has purchased the tickets.
  16. Candidates that have been accepted for participation are requested to obtain any necessary visas (including transit visas) before travelling to the Netherlands and to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Those requiring an entry visa for the Netherlands are advised to contact the nearest diplomatic/consular mission of the Netherlands as soon as they receive the invitation letter from OPCW. Participants who need further assistance may contact the Protocol and Visa Branch of the Secretariat by telephone (+31 (0)70 416 3777) or by email (visa@opcw.org).
  17. Candidates are responsible for obtaining the required visas for the full period of their stays in Europe and other training locations.

How to apply for a place in the Programme

  1. Candidates for the Programme must use the personal history form annexed hereto to apply for admission. The information provided under each item on the form must be complete and accurate. The form should be accompanied by a photocopy of the applicant’s valid passport. Candidates must also present a letter authenticating the fact that they are employed, together with a letter from their employer confirming their support of the application and willingness to grant permission to the candidate to attend the Programme in its entirety.
  2. Incomplete or insufficiently detailed applications, including any that do not contain the one-page statement requested in item 17 of the personal history form annexed hereto (in regard to the aims of the course), will not be considered.
  3. Interested National Authorities are requested to endorse the completed application forms of their national candidates. Completed forms should be submitted directly to the Secretariat (by email to icb@opcw.org) no later than 15 February 2017.Forms may also be sent to the following address:Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
    Attn: International Cooperation Branch
    Johan de Wittlaan 32
    2517 JR The Hague
    The Netherlands
  4. Any queries regarding the Programme can be addressed to Mr Dawsar Drissi, International Cooperation Officer, who can be reached via email (icb@opcw.org).

Click here to download the invitation and personal history form.

NRCP Recognizes Outstanding Filipino Researchers

This page originally appears at the DOST website with the complete roster of awardees.

The National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) in its Annual Scientific Conference and 83rd General Membership Assembly held last 16 March 2016 at the Philippine International Convention Center conferred Outstanding Achiever Awards to three Filipino researchers/scientists, Outstanding Research Institutions to four academic institutions, Award of Distinctions to four Filipino researchers, and Honorable Recognition Awards to two NRCP Member Emeriti.

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVER AWARDS

DR. MYLENE M. UY is honored for her exemplary achievements and invaluable contributions to research in the field of Natural Products Chemistry particularly on drug discovery and development from Philippine medicinal plants endemic in Mindanao. Dr. Uy’s exemplary leadership in the implementation of the first Tuklas Lunas Development Center of DOST-PCHRD in the Mindanao is also highly praised along with her unwavering dedication and support in the development and promotion of natural products research in Region. Dr. Uy is a Regular Member of the NRCP Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences and is currently with the Department of Chemistry, Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology.

CHEMICAL SCIENCES
NRCP Award of Distinction for 2015

DR. FORTUNATO B. SEVILLA III
Professor Emeritus, College of Science
University of Santo Tomas

For being an outstanding scientist, innovator, and leader who made significant contributions in the field of analytical chemistry, through his pioneering innovative work in chemical sensors and biosensors; his active and dedicated involvement in both local and international academic and chemistry communities, with papers published in leading international journals; his distinguished contributions as reflected in patents and in low-cost instrumentation he developed for chemical education; and his zealous desire in mentoring the young minds to become scientists themselves.

NRCP MEMBER EMERITUS

DR. BEATRICE Q. GUEVARA
Professor Emeritus, University of Santo Tomas

For her inspiring leadership in the formulation of policies and setting directions for the growth and development of basic sciences in the field of chemical sciences; for her distinguished membership in the Council, and being an inspiration to budding scientists in the country.

The International Chemistry Olympiad . . . Olympics of the Mind

By Jose M. Andaya

The four-day debut of the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) on June 18, 1968 in Czechoslovakia, Prague showcased three European teams wrestled questions in chemistry. Since then, the IChO has earned a reputation from a mere curiosity to one of the most anticipated international events for chemistry enthusiasts.

The Philippines is not a member of IChO and for quite a number of years, our high school students who would like to compete in the IChO cannot do so because of this reason. In this regard, the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies or PFCS and the different associations under it like the Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers or PACT, Kapisanan ng mga Kimiko sa Pilipinas or the KKP, and the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines or the ICP, have joined forces together to generate enough finances to send local observers to the IChO.

IChO requires each participating country to observe the Olympiad proceedings for two years first before it is allowed to send contestants. The first observation happened on the 47thIChO on July 20 – 29, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. While the second IChO observation was in Tbilisi, Georgia for the 48thIChO last July 23 – August 1, 2016.  During these observations, I have learned the different activities of mentors and students during the 10-day Olympiad. The students are housed in a different hotel away from their mentors during the whole Olympiad. There are only a few occasions when mentors and students get together for some programs or events. Highlights of the events included the Opening program, wherein the host country welcomes all guest and participants for the year’s Olympiad. It double functions as fellowship gathering where participants from various countries get to know each other.

The Jury nights or meetings, is where the committee who prepared the questions and the mentors meet and discuss the validity of the questions that will be used. All important issues or concerns regarding the Olympiad are threshed out in this session. On a lighter note, a city tour for students was organized to enable them to explore the city while their mentors prepare the final questions to be used in the Olympiad. When it’s the student’s turn to take the examinations, mentors and guest took turns to explore the city.

The arbitration day, is when the committee who prepared the questions check the test papers of the students.  After checking, the mentors can still discuss with the committee to negotiate for partial point/s by giving justifications to the answers of their students. The IChO is capped with a closing ceremony, where students who performed best in the Olympiad are given recognition, to include the merit award, bronze, silver and gold medals. This is also the opportunity to say farewell to all attendees of the Olympiad.

We successfully accomplished the two-year observation period as a prerequisite to joining the IChO. All chemistry associations under the PFCS, the PACT, the KKP and the ICP, are happy to see the realization of our dreams.  Someday, our Filipino students will compete in the International Chemistry Olympiad or IChO and win. As the 2016 IChO organizers have told us “they are happy to welcome the first Filipino group who will participate in the 2017 IChO” which will happen in Thailand next year.

2017 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Joint Research Project (JRP) Call for Proposals

The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and
Development (PCIEERD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)
would like to extend the “2017 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
(JSPS) Joint Research Project (JRP) Call for Proposals”.

The Joint Research Program (JRP) under the Joint Scientific Cooperation Program
between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Japan Society
for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) is a bilateral exchange program in accordance
with the mutual Agreement on International Scientific Collaboration which aims to
provide support for research to be jointly conducted by Japanese and Filipino
Researchers. Specifically aims to: 1) Contribute to scientific advancement by
conducting bilateral research (including seminars) in the specific research field and
2) Provide opportunities for young researchers of Japan and the Philippines to meet,
interact and exchange ideas to build a robust S&T community in the region.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) were calling for mutually
beneficial and collaborative project proposals that respond to the priority identified in
the Harmonized National R&D Agenda downloadable at
http://itcu.dost.qov.ph/images/download/National%2ORD%20Acienda.pdf

Interested parties are advised to coordinate with prospective counterpart/collaborator
in Japan to craft their proposals. The Filipino researcher must submit the proposal to
DOST while the Japanese counterpart will submit the same to JPSP for separate
review and evaluation. Only projects approved by both DOST and JSPS will be
implemented under this cooperation scheme.

Attached is the Guidelines for the DOST_JSPS for Pi’ 2017. Application must be
submitted on or before 31 August 2016 to the International Technology Cooperation
Unit (ITCU), 3″d Floor, DOST Main building, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig
City or email them at itcu-maildostmov.ph / amvelasquezdostmov.ph The
necessary forms may be downloaded at http://www.dost.gov.ph.

Click here to download the announcement.

Fabian M. Dayrit

By Mark Adam Ferry

Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit has been teaching chemistry in the Ateneo de Manila University since 1983. He established the National Chemistry Instrumentation Center (NCIC) when the first high field Fourier transform-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer and high resolution Mass Spectrometer (MS) in the country were obtained in 1994 under the Engineering and Science Education Program (ESEP). He was the first Dean of the School of Science and Engineering, serving from 2000 to 2011. He was also the founder and first director of the Environmental Science Program, which was established in 1992 and later elevated to a department in 1998.

Dr. Dayrit is a true-blue Atenean, having studied there since grade school up to college. In 1975, he graduated cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in BS Chemistry. He then received his M.A. and PhD degrees in Chemistry from Princeton University in 1978 and 1981, respectively.

Currently, he is the president of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP), a post that that he has held since 1995. The ICP is the accredited professional organization of the Chemistry profession under the Professional Regulation Commission. He has been the chair for the Technical Panel for Nanotechnology of the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research & Development of Department of Science & Technology since 2009, a consultant on Confirmatory Drug Testing using Mass Spectrometry for the Department of Health (DOH) since 2008, chair of the steering committee for the Science Education Graduate Scholarships for the Commission on Higher Education since 2007, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Philippine Institute for Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) for DOH since 2006, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Philippine Journal of Science since 2005. He was the project leader of the DOST Roadmap for Nanotechnology Development in the Philippines, which identified the priority areas for the development of nanotechnology R&D in the country. He is also a member of various scientific and professional societies which include the Philippine-American Association of Science and Engineering (PAASE), Natural Products Society of the Philippines (NPSP), National Research Council of the Philippines and the American Chemical Society. He is the chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) an intergovernmental agency of 18 coconut producing countries which was established by UN ESCAP. Dr. Dayrit was elected as Academician in the National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST PHL) in 2009 and is currently its Acting President.

Dr. Dayrit’s research interests include natural products chemistry and environmental chemistry. For natural products, he studies various aspects of the quality of virgin coconut oil. Current research going on is the potential use of virgin coconut oil (VCO) against Alzheimer’s disease. Spirulina algae is also being studied for commercial production of cheap fish feed, as well as the bioengineering of algae to produce more high-value compounds such as phycobili proteins. Various endemic and Southeast Asian plant species used in traditional medicine are also being studied for standardization. His scientific works have resulted in various publications in ISI-listed and non-ISI listed journals and academic awards. In 2010, he received the “Award of Excellence in Science & Engineering” from the Philippine Development Foundation USA during the Philippine Development Forum. He and Dr. Marissa Noel received an “Award for Best Paper” by NAST PHL in 2007 for their publication entitled, “Triterpenes in the Callus Culture of Vitex negundo, L.”.

Outside the laboratory, he is also working on adding more volumes to the compilation of currently standardized traditional medicinal plants in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. The first volume of the Encyclopedia of Common Medicinal Plants of the Philippines, to which he is a co-editor of, was published in 2015.

Dr. Dayrit truly enjoys teaching. He regularly teaches advanced organic chemistry with focus on natural products, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. He loves seeing his past students become successful in the field. For being a long time educator and chemist in the Philippines, he says that chemistry in the Philippines is still a relatively small industry and field. The country has been developing rapidly in various fields of science such as information technology and biology (as a biodiversity hotspot). As a central science, he wants to highlight the importance of chemistry for the Philippines.

He is married to Ma. Corazon Baytion and they have two children, Enzo and Felicia. Outside work, Dr. Dayrit enjoys photography, being outdoors, travel, and playing the flute.