Advanced GHS Training held in Makati

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines held its second in the series of GHS Awareness activities by conducting the Advanced GHS Training last November 27-29, 2012, at the Makati Palace Hotel in Makati City.

This advanced training for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) was intended for all of those who are involved in chemical safety in the laboratory both academe and industry,  research , production, transport and public health. The participants included those who completed the Basic GHS Training or had attended seminar on GHS Overview.

The objectives of the Advanced GHS Training were: to familiarize participants with the GHS criteria for classifying physical, health and environmental hazards; to learn the elements of hazard communication; and to practice application of hazard criteria to sample chemicals and to determine which GHS hazard communication elements apply.

The course was divided into four parts. Part 1 was the Introduction to Hazard Classification and Hazard Communication where the steps and guidelines on how to classify and communicate the hazards were discussed. Part 2 was about Physical Hazard Criteria, where the 16 classes of physical hazards were defined and characterized and the criteria for determining the categories, i.e., the severity, of each hazard class are discussed. At the end of the presentation participants were divided into 7 groups and given set of exercises to answer. Each group presented the process of how they arrived at the answers. Part 3 presented Health Hazard Criteria where the basis for classifying the ten (10) health hazard classes and their categories were explained. Similar to Part 1, a set of exercises were also provided where each group was asked to answer and present their reasons for their classification. Part 4 covered Environmental Hazard Criteria, where the basis for classifying the class of hazard and the categories were discussed. At the end of this presentation, a workshop was conducted to solve a set of exercises which was given to each group. Presentors from each group were asked to discuss and explain their answers.

The three-day training was concluded with the awarding certificates to the participations by the trainers, Ms. Tessie B. Corpuz and Ms. Marila Palisoc.

ICP holds much-awaited seminar on Practical and Cost Effective Solutions to Laboratory Chemical Wastes, Part II

By Ms. Mutya Samonte

It was in 2008 when the ICP held its first seminar on Chemical Laboratory Waste Management. As a result of this seminar, a number of laboratories initiated changes in their chemical waste management practices.

Two participants from first seminar have now come full circle and were speakers in the second seminar, entitled “Practical and Cost Effective Solutions to Laboratory Chemical Wastes, part II”, which was held on October 24-25, 2012, at MetroClub, Makati.

Two of invited speakers who presented their respective programs and insights were Mr. Joel Ballesteros, PCO for UP Diliman Institute of Chemistry, and Ms. Lilia Molina, Head of the Analytical Services Laboratory at IRRI.

Other speakers included Engr. Edwin Navaluna, Supervising Environmental Specialist of DENR-EMB and Dr. Veronica Migo, Head of the Central Analytical Services Laboratory of Biotech, UP Los Baños, shared the process for Hazardous Chemical Identification and the relevant laws applying to chemical waste management.

Ms. Tess Cayton, former plant Manager for Bayer Crop Science and now a private Environmental Consultant, presented an overview of the best practices on chemical waste disposal as practiced at Bayer (Philippines), to comply with local regulations and national laws, in particular with respect to pesticides.

Dr. Luerne De Sales, General Manager of All Wastes Services, Inc. (formerly Inchem) showed how chemical wastes are treated in their facilities and Mr. Mark Castillo, an Applications Specialist of Merck Millipore, provided a review of innovations in chemical waste management.

The seminar was capped by a workshop which involved exercise on how to identify, estimate and classify chemical wastes based on procedures from laboratory exercises and analytical methods.

The main coordinator and lively emcee for this seminar was Ms. Edna Mijares and the workshop exercises were developed by Dr. Fabian Dayrit.

The 118 participants from government, academe, and industry were able to take home valuable information and skills. Many were inspired to start and improve on their lab waste management process.

The two-day seminar was well worth the wait. The ICP plans to bring the seminar to the regions in the near future.

Basic GHS Training conducted in Ateneo de Davao

By Dr. Toby Dayrit and Ms. Tess Corpuz

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) conducted a one-day Basic Training Program on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) last October 27, 2012, at the Ateneo de Davao University.

Ms. Teresita Corpuz

Ms. Marila Palisoc

This Basic GHS course was conducted by Ms. Teresita B. Corpuz and Ms. Marila Palisoc as trainers and was attended by 65 participants mainly from the Mindanao area from academe, government, industry, and chemical transport sectors.

The objectives of the Basic GHS course are: to provide background on how and why the GHS was developed, to discuss the purposes, objectives and benefits of the GHS, to present the scope and application of the GHS and its basic elements, and to understand the GHS in relation to other international agreements and standards.

The GHS training program is being undertaken by the ICP through funds provided by the the Board of Investment (BOI) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The BOI is the focal point of the the country’s project called: “National Strategic Plan to Implement GHS”, which is funded by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Through this project, the ICP is tasked to assist the BOI in the conduct of GHS awareness seminars and workshops and to strengthen the involvement of stakeholders, such as industry, public interest and labor organizations.

The GHS is a new internationally-agreed tool for chemical hazard communication, incorporating harmonized chemical hazard classification criteria and provisions for standardized labels and safety data sheets.

GHS seminars and workshops will enable the concerned chemistry community to be able to understand how to classify the hazards of chemical substances and mixtures and be able to properly label them.

The seminars and workshops include Basic and Advance GHS Training. The ICP shall be conducting an Advanced GHS Training on November 27 to 29, 2012, at the Makati Palace Hotel.

Updates on the proposed new Chemistry Law


The ICP is pleased to inform you that the proposed revision of the Chemistry Law (RA 754) was recently passed on third reading in the Lower House. The sponsor in the Senate is Sen. Edgardo Angara. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV conducted its first public hearing on the proposed bill last May 31, 2012, and the Lower House is awaiting action in the Senate.

We have continued to actively discuss the proposed bill and now have some additional proposed changes in view of the following developments:

1. A higher level of General Chemistry will be taught in Grades 11 & 12.  Because of concerns of chemical management and safety, we recommend that the laboratory manager should be a licensed Chemist.
2. The impending ASEAN single market in 2015 will require that chemical laboratories in the Philippines comply with high standards in terms of the qualifications of the laboratory manager and personnel.
3. We have replaced the term “chemical analyst” with “chemical technologist” but the qualifications and functions remain the same.

Please click HERE for the current Senate version, SB 2049.
Please click HERE for the version with proposed changes.

We would like to urgently request your support by writing to Senator Trillanes to expedite the passage of this bill during the current Congress. The ICP thanks you for your valuable support for this endeavor!

The Academic Track of Being a Chemist: Dr. Coke Montaño’s Speech at the Induction of New Chemists 2012

Dr. Nemesio “Coke” Montaño, professor and researcher at the UP Marine Science Institute, is the Outstanding Chemist for 2012. He was a guest speaker during the Oath-taking and Induction of New Chemists held at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel in October 2012.


Hon. Ramon Magsaysay Jr., former senator; Commissioner Alfredo Po of PRC; Dr. Adoracion P. Resureccion (Chairman, Board of Chemistry); Dr. Soledad S. Castañeda (Member, Board of Chemistry); Academician Dr. Fabian Dayrit and other officers of the ICP,  KKP and PACT; our honored guests; fellow chemists and mentors; ladies and gentlemen.

First of all, let me congratulate you for your achievement of passing the Chemistry Board Examinations. This feat is indeed a life’s milestone. Let me also greet your individual families for the moral, spiritual, and material support, and also your mentors who molded you to become achievers.  Passing the board exams is a major step in the pursuit towards our individual goals.

I am happy and honored for being given a chance to talk to you and for having this rare opportunity of establishing an intimate relation with each one of you in the audience. The chemists should understand what I am referring to. For the non-chemists: the molecules that I inhale and exhale goes to the air in the room, which in turn gets inhaled by each one of you. Isn’t that intimacy?

My talk is short, as the late Carlos P. Romulo likened a short speech to a bikini – scanty but enough to cover the vital parts.

I am here to talk to those of you who are planning to go into the academic track. In the academe, teaching and research are equally important. Preferably, one must get a graduate degree: MS, Ph.D., and preferably, a Post Doc. Of course, there are growing pains.

When you get into the academic track, you become a part of the solution in terms of science and technology. Data taken in 2008 from the World Bank reveals that Singapore has 5,900 researchers per one million members of the population; Japan has 5,400, Thailand has 600, and the Philippines has 78. Kawawa ang Pilipinas!

After graduate training ,you may also take the other tracks of the Chemistry profession such chemists in industry , business and in government. On your way towards obtaining a Ph.D., there will be several distractions. They may be likened to flowers along the way – you may tend to pick them up, but be sure that you don’t get lost while pursuing the path towards your goals. Many students take consultancies and other jobs on the side while in graduate school. However, a number of these students did not finish their degrees.

Staying in this country or returning after training to eventually work in this country: we consider these as acts of heroism. Yes, it is true that the OFWs are keeping our economics up. However, we must also remember that Philippine education prepares us for life either locally or globally. With Filipinos in the sciences, in chemistry, and in other professions, we will be able to uplift our country’s economy, literacy, and well being.

Being a teacher in this country is like taking a vow of poverty. Academics may not be financially rewarding compared being in the industry and other business, but the rewards are nevertheless far-reaching and immeasurable.

Meanwhile, in conducting research, one must be careful with the experiment design so as not to commit errors. It is a good practice to examine results as a whole. More importantly, you must publish your results. Your research results give credibility to your teaching and work. In my experience, I have come to know that it is best to work on science and technology-related problems of our country. When you publish in journals with high impact factors, you can be immortalized in chemical abstracts and international databases. Also, sometimes, you can get mileage if you work with members of a different specialization or if you use chemistry in answering research questions under the other fields of science.

To cite examples, many of the renowned Filipino chemists owe their claim to fame to their work on Philippine problems: NS Lourdes J. Cruz on conus, NS Banzon on coconut, Prof Dayrit on coconut oil and lagundi, NS  Ben Juliano on  rice, NS Clara Lim Sylianco on mutagenicity studies, Dr. Mae Mendoza on the biochemistry of Philippine fruits… the list goes on. My instant fame with the Seaweed Industry locally and international was because, I wrote about the properties of the PNG carrageenan a commodity which, during that time, is being produced only by the Philippines.

On a different note, in order to prevent occurrence of dishonesty in science, it is best that you practice the guide outlined in the Ethical Principles and Guidelines for Filipino Scientists by the National Academy of Science and Technology. You might also want to read the article “On Being a Scientist” by the National Academy of Science of US.

To end, I’d like to leave everyone of you with these pieces of advice:

Vladimir Prelog (23 July 1906 – 7January 1998) was the 1975 Nobel chemistry Prize winner for his work on making the absolute rule on handedness of the molecule. Together with Cahn and Ingold they devised the CIP sequence rules. He said:
“The world is chiral and clinical, enjoy the symmetry wherever you find it.”

Also, perhaps the most important advice he gave during his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the Rectus and Sinister:
“If you want to be happy for an hour, buy a bottle of wine,
If you want to be happy for a week, roast (slaughter) a pig,
If you want to be happy for a year, get married.
If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, love or enjoy your work.”

Finally, before I leave the stage, here is a story I usually tell my Natural Science I (Chemistry Portion) class:
One sunny day, Helium and Hydrogen atoms went strolling in the park. Hydrogen atom said “I lost an electron”.
Helium inquired, “Are you sure?”
Hydrogen replied “Yes, I am positive.”

Enjoy your celebrations and the tsug tsug music tonight. Congratulations and thank you.